Secret’s Out:

Aug 252004
Authors: Gabrielle Heise

There’s no need to ponder the endless I’m-hungry-but-I-don’t-know-what-I-want dilemma – Choice City Butcher and Deli’s, 104 W Olive St., half-pound sandwiches will conquer any appetite.

Owners Russ Robinson and Derek Kennedy opened the store this past February. The two owners spent the two years before opening Choice City’s doors traveling the country researching delis, specialty stores and other locally owned and corporate businesses as a substitute for culinary school.

Their dedication pays off with the quality of the product. The half-pound sandwiches Choice City serves are made with meat from local ranches as well as imported meats and cheeses from Europe.

While opening the store, Robinson and Kennedy gathered their friends to help with the finishing touches. The sign, counters and ceiling were painted and polished by Robinson, Kennedy and their comrades. The owners got the idea to open the store when their weekly dinner parties were jaded by the inevitable drive to Denver to get quality products. “Choice City” is the nickname for Fort Collins and thus the name they chose for the shop.

There are three types of meats, according to the United States Department of Agriculture: select, choice and prime. Choice City opts for only choice and prime meats because they are of better quality than the select meats. Robinson and Kennedy offer more than just the classic beef or chicken, they make Colorado Reubens, their signature sandwich served with corned buffalo meat as well as a not-so-traditional sandwich with ostrich meat.

Choice City also has a variety of other products. There are classic and imported cheeses, homemade soup, beer, wine, and bones for your dog.

If they don’t have what you’re looking for, they’ll find it for you.

“I’ve driven to specialty stores in Denver to please customers,” Robinson said.

If a customer wants something unusual, they will make the trip down I-25 and have it available within days.

The beverages offered at Choice City have a story all their own. Chimay beer is brewed by Belgium monks at their monastery. They also carry Dr. Pepper in its original form, with cane sugar instead of corn syrup and using glass containers instead of aluminum. When Robinson and Kennedy buy the soda bottles, they pay retail price, then turn around and sell the drink to customers with no profit.

“I get to work at my favorite restaurant, it’s great,” said Joe Shipley, an employee and a junior business major.

The location downtown was chosen specifically to combine the Old Town personality with convenient parking. Being part of the Old Town community brings in a variety of customers. Some choose Choice City for the quality, some to support locally owned businesses, while others come for the beer.

“Personal care, good meat and great service, they rock,” said Jackie Fields, a Choice City customer.

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