226 West Mountain Avenue
Fort Collins, CO 80521-2711
I grew up eating at Mountain Cafe located in Fort Collins Colorado. This was largely in part, because my old man's barber shop was located directly next door. Look closely at the right side of the photo, and you will see an outline of where his old barber pole used to be. My old man is now retired, and his barber shop long gone, but Mountain Cafe is still thriving.
Looking at this picture is like peering through a time portal back to my youth. This counter has remained virtually unchanged since the 1970's. The only noticeable difference as far as I can see, is an absent rotating cake and pie display that used to sit behind the left side of the counter. I used to beg my old man to sit at the counter when he'd take me there for breakfast or lunch. Sometimes he'd reluctantly give in, and I'd be the happiest kid alive, dining with the working men of the world while feasting on my pigs in a blanket and chocolate milk, or patty melt and Coca-Cola.
The rest of the diner also remains largely unchanged. However.. if you look to the left side of this picture, you will see a section of the wall that has been cut out. The section to the left of that wall used be my old mans barber shop. The owner took over the space and expanded after my Dad retired. Every time I dine at Mountain Cafe, I can't help but sit and stare across the other side of the wall, in awe of how familiar yet how different it looks.
It never ceased to amaze me how Dad was treated like royalty in that place. He'd get his coffee topped off at what seemed like every fourth or fifth sip, would often get free pieces of freshly made pie, and sometimes.. a free meal all together. One time when my mother dropped me off at my Dad's shop for the afternoon, he was sitting in one of his barber chairs just finishing up a plate of food from the cafe. A few minutes after he finished eating, one of the waitresses came in through the back door of his shop, picked up his plate, silverware and cup, and took it back to the restaurant. I remember thinking "Wow.. eating lunch in a comfortable barber chair, with people coming to serve you. Now this is the life!"
Pigs in a blanket and Hashbrowns
Dig that serving size!
On many an occasion, I order the pigs in a blanket and hash browns just as I did for so many years a kid, and they are always every bit as good as I remember them being when I was a young boy. Mountain Cafe is everything I remember it to be and more, and dining there always brings back many fond memories from my youth.
Things change, but in the case of this great diner, very little has (which is a good thing). I see the same great value, quality, service, and quaintness that's been ever present. If you're ever in Fort Collins Colorado and have the inkling for a great breakfast in an old school diner, I highly recommend hitting up Mountain Cafe.