Back in the early seventies and eighties, there weren't many options for Mexican food restaurants in Fort Collins Colorado. Here are the only Mexican eateries that I personally remember, during the course of two decades growing up in Fort Collins.
This was probably the largest locally owned chain of Mexican restaurants in Colorado. Last I heard, there were only two remaining Armadillo restaurants still open. The first is the original restaurant located in La Salle Colorado, and the other is located about an hour south in Northglenn Colorado. I think their main competitor was another local chain called 'Garcia's' which I recall getting heavy commercial play on both radio and television.
For years, the Denver Broncos training camp was held in Greeley Colorado, which is southeast of Fort Collins. El Burrito catered Mexican food to the training camp for a very long time until the football organization finally built their own facility near Denver. I always remembered El Burrito being a favorite for college kids who attended Colorado State University. For one, it was located in Old Town Fort Collins, which was in close proximity to the college. And two, it used to be a place where you could absolutely stuff yourself at bargain prices.
My first job working for the man was at El Dorado as a dishwasher and prep cook. They were famous for their Pork Green Chile which I learned to make whilst working there. They were also renowned for their incredible margaritas. I believe the restaurant on Link Lane closed in the early 90s, and the family opened another named 'Adelita's' in Loveland Colorado.. but it has since closed as well.
This restaurant was located in mid-town Fort Collins close to the corner of College avenue and one block west of the Spradley auto dealership. I remember dining upstairs and having a nice view of the city lights. Even at the age of ten, I realized the establishment was way more upscale than the local competition. I also recall an ice cream dessert that featured a warm Brandy sauce drizzled over it.
Taco Bell and Taco John's
Both of these national chains each had one restaurant in town. Taco Bell was located on the corner of Prospect and College avenue. Taco John's was located north of Old Town Fort Collins on College avenue and Cherry street. Back in the day both made most of their food fresh, but later on when Taco Bell was seriously cutting corners to maximize profits, my friends and family preferred Taco John's any day of the week.
I may be forgetting one or two restaurants, but am not entirely sure. Fort Collins was a revolving door for restaurants that would come and go during the 70s and 80s. I swear I remember a Mexican buffet or cafeteria style joint that was open for about a year in mid-town, near the old Sutherlands lumber store on College avenue.
If you lived in Fort Collins Colorado between 1975 and 1985, and know of any Mexican restaurants that I may have missed, by all means let me know about them in the comments below, or via email in my contact form. Rest assured that any new discoveries from those decades will be updated here with haste!