I’m always impressed with people who come up with innovative ideas and think outside the box. What has once worked in the past may not work for everyone in the future. Traditional concepts are not the only path to follow. As they say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
We see this happening in many parts of the workforce now. Familiar 9-5 cubicle jobs are evolving into remote working positions. Working from home or coworking in a shared office is becoming more common. In the restaurant industry, we see non-traditional opportunities evolve through the growth of food trucks.
It is increasingly difficult in our economy – especially in our local Fort Collins economy – to successfully get a restaurant off the ground. It takes an incredible amount of investment and risk, which is exactly why we see the food truck community expanding and some founders on the brick and mortar side of the coin growing resentful (they’re not risking as much as we are, and it’s not fair!).
As old standards become higher-risk and the chance of success dwindles down to scraps, innovation and creativity step in. This is what Avanti F & B in Denver is doing, and we’re about to see something similar pop up in Fort Collins.
Avanti F & B is a collective space with seven different restaurants housed in modified shipping containers in one giant building. It’s a combination of food trucks meets cafeteria – a modern day food hall – and it is AWESOME.
On the consumer side of things, it’s an elevated yet casual hangout. You know those times you try to get friends together for dinner and everyone can’t agree on a restaurant to dine at? Problem solved at Avanti. Get your food from one of the seven different restaurants – fast-casual concept style – order your wine, beer, or cocktail at the main bars on each floor, then sit together in a cool urban atmosphere. It’s great for friends, families, and the person who can never decide on what to eat.
On the business side of things, this allows fledgling restaurateurs to test out their concept before betting the farm on it. Much like food trucks, there’s a lower investment risk. If they can make it within their shorter lease time, then that little restaurant in a shipping container makes the leap to growing into their own traditional restaurant. This is a restaurant concept incubator, very similar to how we see startup incubation at the Innosphere or Galvanize here in Fort Collins. The length of the lease is capped at couple of years with the intention of high turnover so that opportunities are available to other hopeful restaurants.
And, again, on the consumer side? This makes it so that the concept is always interesting. Menus change, restaurants move on, and all of us that have tastebuds and stomachs with short attention spans are continually interested.
THIS IS GENIUS.
Bill and I went to check it out during one of our Denver Date weekends a few months ago. We had a light lunch and was in no way able to visit each place in the usual review smorgasborg fashion. But we still got a really clear idea of the intentions of Avanti.
He had ordered shawarma from Souk and I had steamed mussels from Bixo. Now, these aren’t typical fast-casual menu items. While you may order and pick up from the individual restaurant’s window, you get chef-inspired dishes, just as you would from a full service restaurant concept. Our two menu items were absolutely delicious! You can tell they’re made from top notch recipes and don’t have that typical fast-casual flavor (aka, plastic).
I had also ordered a Palomita Picante from their central bar – El Jimador Tequila, Ancho Reyes, lime, and Oogave grapefruit soda. We sat on the patio overlooking the city landscape and people watched. We absolutely loved it!
As long-time readers know, I stay in the loop on what’s happening with our restaurant industry well before it hits the pages of the paper. There have been many foundational attempts at bringing a food hall concept to Fort Collins, and some seemed to have some impressive investors. This has been in the works for well over a year (or longer), and the cat is finally out of the bag with Brinkman evolving the Old Town corner that Pateros and CopperMuse are on (minus Compass Cider). While it’s not completely like Avanti, we’re going to see a little bit of their pioneering ideas influencing The Exchange in 2017.
So, the next time you head down to Denver for a culinary adventure, go check out Avanti and savor some innovation and creativity. It’s totally worth it.
Avanti Food & Beverage
3200 Pecos Street, Denver
Kid-Friendly? It is, and there are families everywhere there
Parking: Parking is atrocious. It’s street parking, and there’s a valet option.
Healthy Options? With seven restaurants, there’s a lot of options for everything
Budget-Friendly? IT IS! most items are under $10
Recent Health Inspection: Not rated the same as Larimer County