In the years that we’ve lived in Fort Collins, I can count on one hand how many times we’ve been to Home Depot. We’re not the crafty, constructive kind of people who do fun house projects, so there’s really no reason to go peruse the aisles for lumber and paint. It was a complete shock to me when a reader sent an email to me, recommending that I review the Home Depot hot dog stand, because I didn’t know there was one (or two, really). And, I didn’t know what kind of dogs and brats they were serving.
From now on, my Home Depot shopping list will look like this:
- Christmas Trees
- Wild Game Brats
Or, more realistically, it will look like this:
- Wild Game Brats
For the last 12 years, owner Gary Block has been making sure that the Schmickels food cart (or more popularly known as the Home Depot Dog) grills up some savory rewards for those contractors and weekend warriors tackling home improvement projects. Some people stop by just for the food and forget about the Home Depot! He has hot dog carts at both Home Depot locations (East Harmony and East Mulberry). The wild game brats and kosher hot dogs are processed right close by in Denver and from Gary’s very own recipes. The big bonus? They’re out there all year round, braving the winter months to make sure the people of Fort Collins have something to fuel up on before getting to work with their hands.
You can find kosher hot dogs, handmade German bratwursts and a rotating variety of wild game brats, like jalapeno cheddar elk, apricot wild boar, bison, and rattlesnake pheasant (and more!).
While visiting both locations, the husband and boys stuck with the kosher dogs. The hog dogs were just your average, run-of-the-mill hot dogs. Nothing extraordinary about these, although still pretty tasty.
Of course, I couldn’t pass on the wild game brats. On one visit I had the rattlesnake pheasant. It was delicious and juicy with a decent amount of spices to jack up the flavor. The meat itself really did taste a bit like chicken, as cliche as it is when talking about the taste of rattlesnake. It was a dense meat with a nice crunchy snap in the bite. I really enjoyed this and would love to eat it again. The flavor was good enough that I didn’t want to load it up with garnishes – keeping it simple is best. Some chopped onion and a touch of ketchup was perfect. Other than the onion, you can also choose from different relishes, mustard, hot sauces and sauerkraut.
On another visit I had a bison brat. This time I just added onion to compliment the spices. It was so good, I thought to myself, why didn’t I come here sooner?? This bison brat was jam packed with a palatable bite, yet the texture of the meat was gentle, smooth and velvety. It’s amazing that this could be found outside of a hardware store!
“Eat and Be Happy” is the slogan on the menu board. How could you not with a surprise like this? I’m thrilled that there is this low-key food cart serving up something you can only find here in Fort Collins – a regional food done simply and well.
Schmickels Food Cart
At both Home Depot locations
no phone number available
no website available
Kid-Friendly? Sure! Hot dogs and kids meals come with juice.
Parking: In the Home Depot parking lot
Healthy Options? Wild game brats tend to be lower-fat (unless they are covered in cheese)
Budget-Friendly? Lunch for under $5!
Recent Health Inspection: Excellent