Plenty of college students study business. They study business, though, they don't start one of their own. UW students Jason and Rob, however, didn't sit around waiting for graduation. In the middle of an early 1990s night, they surveyed the phone book and agreed that they were tired of the sub-par pizza available to them. Boldly, they started making pies of their own. No business plan. No product testing. Jason and Rob took their pizza to the people, and a business was born.
Today, they're out of college and their Falbo Bros Pizzeria serves its inventive twists on New York-style thin crust, Chicago-style deep dish, and stuffed pizzas in 13 locations across three states. Fresh batches of hand-rolled dough don gourmet toppings such as giardiniera, artichoke hearts, and meatballs. The Falbo kitchens toss specialty pizzas such as the Zeus, whose black olives, spinach, feta cheese, and pepperoncini are baked with the heat of a lightning bolt. Chefs also bake meatball subs and top salads of artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, and grilled chicken with piquant blue cheese dressing. At Falbo's Fort Collins outpost, taps pour local beers from New Belgium and Odell in a seasonal beer garden, and cans of soda offer an alternative fizzy refreshment.
From the break of dawn to the arrival of the witching hour, the hiss of the espresso machine and the aromas of fresh-brewed coffee and spicy chai tea permeate Alley Cat Coffee House’s expansive space. Manning the counter 24 hours a day, the shop’s friendly baristas never stop topping off cups with ginger tea—made from 5 pounds of fresh ginger—or melting rich Ghirardelli chocolate into mochas, lattes, or carefully positioned open mouths. Morning customers nibble on a healthful breakfast of oatmeal and fruit, and late-night visitors wash down turkey melts and hummus with a thick milkshake.
Alley Cat’s interior is almost as diverse as its menu. A ceiling collage draws eyes upward to the colorful paintings of fish placed mere inches away from a photo of Mel Gibson chit-chatting on the phone. Beneath, sleek leather couches and plush chairs face traditional café seating. A separate room decked in simple earth tones makes an ideal study spot, fortified with wireless Internet, printing stations, and test answers carved into the tables.
Nestled inside of a charming, renovated home in the heart of Fort Collins, the Rainbow Restaurant has served up fresh, creative vegetarian- and vegan-friendly fare for more than 30 years. Dynamize dormant taste buds with Rainbow Restaurant's expansive breakfast menu, which holsters a vast selection of omelettes, breakfast burritos, and pancakes. Early-morning biters can perch serrated ivories on the banana rum french toast, topped with grilled bananas, butter-rum sauce, whipped cream, and walnuts ($8.25). Or graze on vegan-friendly a.m. comestibles such as the tempeh sauté, made with fresh spinach, mushrooms, and black beans and sprinkled with onions and tomatoes ($7.95). Unlike the debut albums of celebrity parrots, the focaccia pesto pizza's disc engages crowds with a melodious mixture of grilled bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and feta and jack cheese ($8.50). For die-hard or dabbling meat eaters, Rainbow Restaurant offers a plethora of carnivorous dishes such as the chicken burrito platter ($7.95) and the chicken ziti ($8.95).
Desserts aren't eaten last at The Chocolate Café. Instead, they're given prime status on the menu, which boasts pages filled with chocolate-drizzled pastries, glasses of wine, and steaming cups of hot chocolate. The staff here are experts about all sorts of sweets, from tart apple creme brulee to key lime pie, but, as you might imagine, the kitchen specializes in all things chocolate. They make normal extra-indulgent cheesecake by sandwiching it between a chocolate crust and a layer of chocolate ganache, and take an already rich croissant bread pudding to new heights by adding white chocolate and creme angelase. They even craft their decadent chocolate desserts in gluten-free varieties, and for special occasions, they can make whole desserts that are ready to be served or pelted at birthday party clowns. For those who like a little savory with their sweet, chefs also cook up light cafe fare such brie and fruit plates and crispy grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup.
At Lyric Cinema Café, movie fans can get their fill of independent features, foreign films, and highbrow mainstream flicks in a quaint, intimate setting. Guests early to their selected screen times can relax in the Lyric Cinema's cozy lobby café, where film fanatics can fuel their critiquing tanks with atypical movie theater fare such as hummus, roasted eggplant and artichoke dip, or beer and wine (not included in this Groupon); chill out with board games on the comfy plaid sofa; or discuss the subtle political commentary in Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Once your usher ushers you inside one of two intimate screening chambers, soundtrack your viewing with the gulp and crunch of your complimentary popcorn and drinks while lounging on the theater couches, or nibble discreetly while un-reclining in a traditional high-backed theater seat. Upcoming features include Blue Valentine, the piercing portrayal of a failing marriage (starting February 11), and The Illusionist, an animated picture from the writer and director of The Triplets of Bellville (opening February 18). Click here for a current list of showtimes and to check out the other cool goings-on at Lyric Cinema, including the free morning cartoons.