5K Dads, Enjoy a Cold Brew!

Angelina Hunter
North Forty News

Running in the 21st Annual Father’s Day 5K this June 17?

As original founders and continued sponsors of this race, CooperSmith’s has kept up the tradition of celebrating Father’s Day runners by donating beer/soda vouchers to 5K goody bags. After the race, head to Old Town and cool off with a cold brew or artisanal soda of your choice.

Founded in 1989 as one of Fort Collins’ first brewpubs, this year CooperSmith’s will celebrate its 29th anniversary. This brewpub pioneer has become a staple in Old Town Fort Collins’ dining and world-famous craft brew culture offering locals and visitors alike distinctive American cuisine in unique dining environments housed in historic buildings.

CooperSmith’s President Dwight Hall shared ”We pride ourselves on having a fun, relaxing environment for everyone to enjoy and our hand crafted award-winning beers and family-friendly artisanal sodas are central to who we are.”

Providing fresh, quality and (whenever possible), locally-sourced foods, and quality beverages, through the years CooperSmith’s kept growing. While expanding in their historic buildings, which over time housed a grocery, a bakery, a hair salon, an auto shop, and more, they took care to honor architectural traditions resulting in a modern, comfortable environment with a clear respect for the past.

With their quality food and beverage coupled with a playful, fun environment including outdoor dining, they obviously have a winning formula and have become a first stop for many visitors to our fair city. But what really impressed this writer was that co-partner Sandra Longton explained “It only makes sense to give back to the community that has supported us for 29 years.” When I began to dig deeper, I discovered an impressive range of their volunteer activities and contributions.

For example, this past season’s Great Plates, which CooperSmith’s helped create, ran March 1-14. CooperSmith’s offered a 2-course dinner for TWO plus 2 pints for $25! These generous menu offerings resulted in doubling their contributions over last year, donating $9,909 to the Larimer County Food Bank.

In recent years, CooperSmith’s launched its Volunteer Incentive Program for managers called “Coopster’s in the Community.” Managers take a day off from work to volunteer at local non-profit organizations, many of which are suggested by The United Way of Larimer County Volunteer Center. Dwight Hall and his wife Erin took time off to help Habitat for Humanity build a home for a local family. So far, Coopster’s have helped build three Habitat for Humanity houses.

In addition, CooperSmith’s contributes to other organizations through the Random Acts of Kindness charitable giving program. And they partner with the Poudre School District to reward exceptionally striving students with a “Be Our Guest” voucher. When a school’s principal recommends a student they get to take their father, mother, and siblings to dinner. Last year, CooperSmith’s awarded 75 “Be Our Guest” vouchers — 75 students worthy of recognition and 75 happy families enjoying dinner out in Old Town. I actually met one of these families when they showed me their “Be Our Guest” voucher and I helped them locate 5 Old Town Square — what a lovely way to give back.

Beginning with their founder Scott Smith and his wife Jane Liska-Smith, CooperSmith’s has also had a tradition of showcasing the work of local artists. Again, I had a firsthand experience of the impact of this. Attending a dinner meeting with a small group and a friend from New York, he fell in love with a nature scene of photographer K. C. Turner that graced the walls of the Pool Side dining room. I contacted Mr. Turner and arranged to purchase the cherished photograph and shipped it to my friend for his birthday. He was delighted to have a reminder of his Colorado experience — all from a night of dining out. Currently, the Pool Side dining room showcases the artwork of Patti A. Stickler and the Pub Side showcases the work of Brittany Bay.

In the months to come, CooperSmith’s is partnering with the Zonta Club of Fort Collins to provide display space on the north side of the Pool Side in Seckner Alley for Her Legacy: Women of Fort Collins, a public art exhibit of woodcut portraits of women with ties to Fort Colllins who have created living legacies.

With many fine dining opportunities in Fort Collins, an establishment really has to “have it going on” to make it over time. So I also polled some friends and “Meg” shared that she and her husband have been going to CooperSmith’s for over 16 years. Both enjoy the food and atmosphere, but what they really find special is the relationship that becomes possible with restaurant staff who have worked there over time — warmth and hospitality — you’ll find that and more at CooperSmith’s.

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