When I think of BBQ, I imagine cowboys on the frontier circling the chuck wagons and ringing the triangle dinner bell next to the crackling open flame. I imagine heavy cast iron dutch ovens with the smell of simmering baked beans under a brilliant starry night sky, and billows of smoke rising up over the dry Texas prairie. I can certainly imagine that the sweet, savory, smoky meats would taste much better surrounded by saddled horses and leather chaps.
There have been times that I’ve dined on incredible BBQ in Fort Collins and the flavor of the great outdoors has dominated my palate. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it. Sadly, the times that I’ve been to Nordy’s, I’ve never been impressed enough that a bite evoked the essence of the open range. Not even a picnic – just average, regular BBQ.
While it seems that Nordy’s is a large national chain restaurant, it’s actually a locally-owned family business. The Nordhagen family built their first location in Loveland in 2008, and then their second location in Old Town in September of 2010. They are just doors away from Moe’s Original BBQ and it seems that the two have been able to live a copacetic existence next to each other. Apparently this town is big enough for BBQ neighbors.
To really get a taste of what Nordy’s has to offer, you must try their lunch buffet. I’m not a big fan of buffets to begin with, but at least with this one, it’s at fairly reasonable cost and it’s a good way to sample all of the meats available. I’ve been to Nordy’s a few times – at both locations – and have ordered from the regular menu and the lunch buffet. I like the buffet best.
In the buffet line, you can choose between sides of Aunt Judy’s Beans – baked beans loaded with bacon, smoked meats, and brown sugar; Pasta Slaw, Potato Salad, Nordy’s Baked Apples, Nordy’s Green Beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, and green salad. For meats, you can have Brisket – hand-trimmed and slow smoked; Carolina Pork – Hickory smoked overnight and chopped to order, Bar-B-Que Chicken, Smoked Sausage, and St. Louis Ribs.
Once you load up your plate, you come back to the table with a variety of sauces available to douse your meat in. There’s the Texas Style – a tomato, vinegar, and black pepper sauce; Jalapeno BBQ – ketchup, mustard, and jalapeno sauce; Kansas City BBQ – sweetened with molasses and brown sugar with a slightly smokey flavor; and Carolina Mustard – spicy vinegar and mustard with brown sugar.
On their menu, they say they are “proudly serving Hormel foods.” When I think of Hormel, I think of canned chili – and it’s not that great. It pretty much sums up my impression of the food as a whole.
However, on their entire menu – these are the the items I liked best.
The Bar-B-Que Chicken is slow roasted and slathered in their Kansas City BBQ Sauce. It’s a really sweet sauce, and the chicken is super tender. It has great flavor, and makes a fantastic pulled chicken sandwich on the buffet line.
The Smoked Sausage is 12 ounces of snappy, albeit salty, smoked and grilled meat. Slice it, bite it – however you want to eat it – but just make sure you dip it in your favorite sauce to cut a bit of the saltiness.
I also enjoyed every single one of the sauces, and thought they had some respectable flavors that added to the experience.
But, that’s about it.
As for the rest of the menu – I could take it or leave it. It’s not bad, just mediocre BBQ and fixings. I thought the Brisket was dry as a bone, and the Carolina Pork overly fatty. The Pasta Slaw has a similar taste to KFC except with an extra chewiness to it with bits of pasta mixed in.
The service, however, has always been outstanding. They’ve been particularly great with the kids, always attentive, and exceptionally friendly. It’s the one thing that stands out most in all of my experiences at Nordy’s.
Usually when I think of BBQ, I’m reminded of the flavors of the Wild West – the fresh air, sweet smoke, and tender meats. But, when I think of Nordy’s, great service and average food are the only things that spark my imagination.
151 North College Avenue
Kid-Friendly? One of the most kid-friendly places in Fort Collins
Parking: Limited Old Town street parking, with a garage close by on the corner of Mason
Healthy Options? They do have a gluten-free menu
Budget-Friendly? Average pricing. Most meals are around $10.