Ah, changes. As they say, “the only constant in life is change,” and we see a lot of it in Fort Collins. Jessup Farm was established on Timberline, and with it, a handful of delightful little places to snack and sip – including Jessup Farm Barrel House and Bindle.
Being a southeast-sider, I constantly talk about how excited I am that Jessup Farm was developed. We’d mainly had mediocre chains to consider, with the exception of a few locally-owned spots that could be hit or miss with quality. But boy, with the Barrel House brewing some tasty beer and their tables nearly always full, you can tell how much this side of town needed a real Fort Collins brewery. Try to have a meeting there; it’s always PACKED. Same with Bindle. In fact, because I work from home these two places are my go-to meeting space spots, and each and every time they are filled with people crammed in like sardines at tables, and there’s often a line out the door at Bindle.
Obviously, I wasn’t the only person on this side of town thrilled with these new options. We’ve really needed some awesome commercial development over here.
But, just because some places have experienced prosperity in this new development, it doesn’t mean that every business has. Jessup Farm started with Lovif bakery as one of the eatery tenants, and for various reasons, they didn’t last more than six months. It was disappointing because they had some fun desserts that were unique in Fort Collins (like the crepe layer cake). But the ebb and flow of changes continued, and with their closure, The Loafing Shed opened in their place.
The Loafing Shed is the sister restaurant to The Farmhouse, both owned and operated by the Doerffel’s who started their Fort Collins food journey with the well-loved food truck, Common Link. But, as life changes, they sold their truck to a new couple this year to focus their attention and resources on The Farmhouse and The Loafing Shed.
The Loafing Shed is their fast-casual concept, offering soups, sandwiches, and pizzas all made from scratch with locally sourced ingredients, including their own garden plot. The large bakery space also supplies The Farmhouse with breads and baked goods. So, as The Farmhouse feels more formal with their full-service set up (and prices), The Loafing Shed offers a nice alternative for lighter meals, prices, and atmosphere. It’s especially popular at lunch and for mid-day meetings when Bindle isn’t an ideal option due to the amount of people already crammed in there.
My first visit to The Loafing Shed was earlier this summer with my boys after spending a fun mom and kids day at the Denver Museum. We drove back into town and straight to The Loafing Shed for something quick(er) and healthy because I was not cooking anything after a fun-filled day.
In true fast-casual operation, you order your meals at the counter and then they bring it out to you at your table. When reading Yelp reviews and such from the community about their experiences at the Loafing Shed, they often complain about this aspect and demote stars in their review. I don’t know what’s so hard about it. Order, pay, sit, eat. It’s not rocket science.
Ordering at the counter is pretty much where the typical fast-casual concept ends here. The atmosphere is cute and homey with the right amount of vintage farm charm, including the projector and white wall screen to watch movies. The boys and I watched Shark Boy and Lava Girl (or something like that) as we waited for our dinner. There were a few other people dining there, but it wasn’t hectic or cramped. It was comfortably relaxed.
I ordered a glass of Sangria along with the asparagus and prosciutto sandwich – roasted asparagus, balsamic syrup, thin prosciutto, swiss, garlic mayo and all of it on house-baked ciabatta. I had a side of potato salad to go with it.
I was thrilled with this dinner. It was fresh, whole food, made from scratch awesomeness. This is exactly the quality I hope for in a light dining experience.
The boys each split half an Adult Grilled Cheese sandwich with garlic butter, provolone, cheddar, truffle parmesan salt, all on a house loaf. My oldest got a side of the Power Salad with spinach, berries, feta, sunflower seeds, and lemon vinaigrette.
My youngest had a side of the soup of the day, which was a red pepper and tomato soup with avocado slices.
While The Loafing Shed may not have a dedicated kids’ menu, this was the perfect portion size for them, and it’s a hell of a lot better than the mac & cheese, hot dog, and chicken finger crap you see everywhere.
Because they had a great healthy dinner (that they actually ate), we splurged on dessert too. We ordered a cake ball, a house-made Hostess cupcake, and a snickerdoodle cookie.
OMG. These were top notch treats, especially the cookie. It rivaled Mary’s Mountain Cookies, which if you’ve indulged in them, you know they are a serious cookie to contend with.
I fell in love with The Loafing Shed on this visit.
I returned again for lunch with Lynsey, our new Feasting Fort Collins writer, for a lunch meeting to go over some transition details. We both ordered glasses of wine to enjoy on the patio.
She ordered the same adult grilled cheese that my kids had the visit before. I ordered the caprese pizza – pesto, tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and balsamic.
We were both left unimpressed.
It was an off-day for them. Maybe it was the wind gust that ripped out one of the patio umbrellas that took out a table, plants, dishes, and nearly the person sitting behind us. Maybe it was a series of no-good bad day things happening. Maybe they felt rushed, because lunch was significantly busier than dinner. And maybe it’s just that I’m a particularly tough pizza critic, even with those that I love.
The flavors of my pizza were lovely, caprese is one of my most favorite flavor combos ever! But this pizza crust was not my favorite. It was far too thin for my preferences, more on the cracker-side of consistency than a general thin-crust pizza style. Needless to say, crust is a vehicle for toppings, but a good pizza crust adds flavor along with texture in its function of being an edible plate. Not so much here. I’ll stick with the sandwiches and salads, though.
Despite the unfavorable pizza experience, I still love The Loafing Shed. Last week was a really tough work week on meeting copywriting deadlines while also being slammed with meetings (thus, why you didn’t see any new reviews). I was stressed to the max and taking it out on my family a bit. Bill promptly suggested I pack up the laptop and find some writing sanctuary outside of the house, particularly a place that had wine (smart husband, here).
So, The Loafing Shed was my first choice. I was the only person there during dinner hours. The staff was super friendly and started a tab for me. I wrote in peace while sipping on their house cabernet next to large windows with a lovely sunset, and it was DELIGHTFUL.
Jessup Farm has been a thrilling addition not only to the southeast side of Fort Collins, but to our culinary scene in general. The Loafing Shed fills a lovely spot for fresh and light fare, while also tempting your sweet tooth with some seriously amazing baked treats. I may be skipping out on the pizza, but they’ll remain on my meeting place list, and most definitely my picnic lunch options when I head into the mountains for Fresh Air Fort Collins adventures as I leave the food reviewing scene behind me.
The Loafing Shed
1939 Jessup Drive
Kid-Friendly? Indeed, it is! Movies, games, and a chalkboard on the wall to keep them entertained!
Parking: Parking Lot
Healthy Options? Too many to list, including Gluten Free bread and pizza options.
Budget-Friendly? About average, almost hovering above $10 per plate.
Recent Health Inspection: No Rating