Bringing Back the Classics at Fort Collins Eatery
Ginger and Baker brings new life to historic site
By Dionne Roberts
One of the newest eateries in Fort Collins is much more than a restaurant. Ginger and Baker is a center for the community on an historic site.
The Northern Colorado Feeders Supply building is on the National Register of Historic Places, and has been an integral piece of the Fort Collins community since the early 1900s. It has served as a grain mill, co-op, mercantile and gathering place for the townspeople.
One year ago, with the opening of Ginger and Baker, the building returned to that historic use as a multi-concept facility made up of seven distinct venues: The Cache restaurant, The Cafe, The Market, The Bakery, The Teaching Kitchen, and dedicated event spaces The Mill Top and The Wine Cellar. Together, they successfully restore the property’s cultural integrity with a hyper-local commitment that recreates the agricultural focus of days past.
“I feel like the significance of the structure itself allows us to be a destination,” says Ginger Graham, co-owner of Ginger and Baker. “It’s well known and loved in northern Colorado, but through the quality of the food and service we want to make this a piece of history in Fort Collins to celebrate as well.”
Tours of the distinctive space are offered daily, complete with contributions of mood music, lighting and smells from the bakery and The Cache.
“We’re trying to make the food true to Colorado,” says Graham. “Lamb, pork, bison and chicken are all from Colorado, and our vegetable and fruit selections as much as possible. It’s local food, a little bit of adventure, casual.”
An entire wall of glass creates an outdoorsy experience that perpetuates farm-to-table dining with intentional touches representing the time when French Canadian trappers stashed gunpowder during a blizzard, giving the Cache la Poudre River its name. Tables are carved from original beams, and a massive entryway chandelier consists of wheels from the old mill.
“We’ve tried to create those early days of the West,” says Graham. “There are coat hangers that are made from railroad spikes, and finishes that look like steel. We salvaged everything we could so people can appreciate what this building is all about.”
Ginger Graham co-owns Ginger and Baker with Jack Graham, former athletic director at Colorado State University. They relocated to the area in 2012 and quickly began their own farmstead, Two Trees Horse Farm. They nurture 25 fruit trees, a pumpkin patch and a beehive, alongside herbs, tomatoes and sunflowers that are all utilized in The Cache kitchen or sold in The Market.
“I grew up on a farm and we grew everything we ate,” says Ginger Graham. “It was about family, community and food. We have a love of local cuisine that we want to advance even further.”
If it’s not from their own land, it’s from as close as possible. Local partners include Hazel Dell Mushrooms, Morning Fresh Dairy, Mouco Cheese Company and Vitality Greens. They source meat and eggs from Jodar Farms, and organic produce and proteins from Croft Family Farm.
“At The Cache in particular we’re hoping to really make a dining experience that is everything Fort Collins is about,” says Ginger Graham. “From the finishes to the service to the local farm and ranch options.”
At Ginger and Baker, their representation of the long game captures the entire experience, from an award-winning wine list to progressive novelty cocktails and their ability to facilitate a staggering number of local partnerships. So whether you’re sipping their signature Peter Rabbit cocktail made with Ginger and Baker tequila, house beer from Black Bottle or their coffee made by local roaster Bindel, their reach extends “all the way through so you can only get it here,” says Ginger Graham.
Dionne Roberts is the editor of the Rocky Mountain Food Report, rockymountainfoodreport.com