Depending on where an individual is from, a range of tools might
be used to consume their meals. Everything from forks and knives,
to chopsticks, to the good old two-finger dip in the pudding has
been used to clean the plate.
At HuHot Mongolian grill, owner Dave Thiele believes his
customers use all of the above and then some.
“People eat with their eyes as much as their mouth,” Thiele
Thiele’s belief is manifested in HuHot’s commitment to putting
out visibly fresh and appetizing ingredients for their patrons to
choose from when preparing their feast.
For those not familiar with the Mongolian grill style dining,
HuHot is a treat. Though Thiele describes eating at HuHot as, “sort
of an American Benihana experience,” he does concede that the
original concept for the restaurant originated with the Mongol
armies from days of old.
Thiele said that legend has it, after a hunt all the Mongolian
warriors would lay out whatever food they had to offer. Once a fire
was made, whichever warrior had the most intricately designed
shield laid it on the fire and all the food was communally cooked
on the hot shield.
“Two of the key ideas for the restaurant came from (this)
tradition,” Thiele said. “We want the customer to be able to see
the food they picked out prepared in front of them and have the
experience of a community grill.”
Atmosphere and Service
Along with a non-traditional menu, the dining experience is a
move of innovation as well. Once seated diners are presented with
menus that contain only drinks, appetizers and deserts. Before the
customers have a chance to be confused by the petite menu, a waiter
swoops in to explain the dining procedure.
The basic idea is that the customers go through a three-part
buffet, grabbing whatever looks appetizing to them.
The first part of the buffet is for the meat eaters. HuHot
offers fresh cuts of a variety of meats from the basics of chicken,
beef and pork, to some more eccentric cuts like buffalo and a
variety of seafood, followed by an array of noodles.
Next for all the non-meat eaters, HuHot makes them right at home
with a buffet of fresh vegetables that seems to stretch for
Once customers pick out all the goods, they move onto the last
stop on the buffet line, the sauces.
HuHot offers 12 flavors to pick from, ranging from mild to hot
and every flavor in between.
Most sauces have Asian based flavors like garlic, curry, ginger,
Szechuan and teriyaki, yet only a few would be considered too
extravagant to please even the most conservative palette.
While some customers choose to stick with one sauce, Thiele and
his crew have found that mixing the flavors can be quite
Thiele who claims to have been through the buffet more times
than he can count, noted “after trying nearly every combination out
there, I decided that is nearly impossible to have a mix of flavors
that’s not good.”
The last step in the dining experience is to bring the raw food
up to the grill, and watch it be grilled up right on front before
HuHot is the eighth restaurant in the franchise that began in
Missoula, Mont., in 1999.
“We feel like our atmosphere and prices, along with being all
you can eat were a good match for a college town,” Thiele said. “We
checked out (Fort Collins) before we came and knew the town was hip
and on top of things.”
To satisfy the “hip” crowd, HuHot has a full bar, a young
enthusiastic staff with the occasional head full of dreadlocks and
an eccentric interior inspired from different progressive oriental
restaurants from around the Seattle area. For those looking for an
alternative to the usual dining experience, HuHot proves to be a
Open everyday –
Lunch, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. $7.49 weekdays, $8.49 weekends
Dinner, 4 p.m. – close. $11.49
259 South College Avenue
(970) 416 – 0555