Colorado has been on the skinniest state list more than once, but Nordy’s Bar-B-Que and Grill in downtown Fort Collins is positioned to change all that. Nordy’s isn’t the place to find the skinny jeans and bike shorts crowd. Nope. The demographic looks more like Texas at Nordy’s, and for good reason.
It’s the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. With five choices of meats, you won’t leave hungry. And whether you’re a Kansas City barbecue aficionado, or Texas barbecue is your idea of heaven, Nordy’s has your sauce. They’ve even got a jalapeno sauce, which isn’t too hot at all, and a North Carolina mustard sauce—one I found to be yummy on the pork sausage, marrying nicely with the intensely smoky meat.
The lunch buffet crowd seems so happy. It’s a “Finally, I’m home!” kind of vibe. And if you don’t leave stuffed you’ve must either be vegan or incredibly disciplined.
Nordy’s offers brisket, which is carved fresh for your plate at the buffet, pork and beef ribs, barbequed chicken and turkey, and fried catfish. The ribs and brisket are very tender and juicy, though the first time I went the buffet meats were dry, not surprising as they sat under warming lights. Ordered on a platter off the menu, the ribs were not at all dry and very meaty.
Even more than the meat, I loved the sides. Those baked beans are so sweet and smoky: small and tender pintos and red beans, saucy and loaded with a variety of smoked meats. And the pasta slaw, coleslaw with chewy bites of tiny macaroni, was sweet too. I think the macaroni adds texture to the slaw, but purists might want either macaroni salad or coleslaw. The mashed potatoes are creamy and flavorful, and the apples with a crispy, buttery crust make a yummy dessert.
I’m no Texan, but I did marry into it so I’ve spent some time in the Lone Star State and I know how Texans like a substantial meal, especially the sweet and smoky kind. Some Southern and Texas favorites are the stuff of memories, like fried okra. Folks that like it will go searching. Nordy’s has that too, but ask for it. Fried okra isn’t on the buffet, as it gets too soggy, so they’ll cook it to order and bring it to your table included in the buffet price. As he walked by my table a man immediately recognized the small deep fried nuggets piled high in a side dish. Like most of the lunch crowd, this man was smiling on the way to the buffet, and his smile grew as he sheepishly asked me where I got the okra. I told him, “Just ask,” which he promptly did.
The Texan consensus at my table was that the meat passed muster but the cornbread is made more for Southern or Midwestern tastes with its cakelike texture and sweet maple glaze. Those hailing from Texas also said the okra was thicker with batter than one would find in Texas.
The catfish was divine with its crunchy exterior, and so tender, moist, and fresh tasting that it is clearly made to order. It’s served with a side of excellent Remoulade sauce that has the expected kick and complex flavor of a good Louisiana Remoulade. I’d go back for the catfish and beans alone.
Nordy’s is unique to Northern Colorado, the Fort Collins establishment is the second location. The first is in Loveland at Centerra. Seating in the Fort Collins Nordy’s is plentiful with booths lining one wall and an upstairs that boasts a floor to ceiling window overlooking College Avenue. Entrees start at $7.99. The restaurant has a full bar and a healthy selection of Colorado brews.
Nordy’s is filling a void in downtown Fort Collins. The down home barbecue is giving the good people of the Choice City a place to chow down mass quantities and sate those big Winter appetites. But if you wear your skinny jeans to an outing at Nordy’s you’ll likely regret it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going home to take a nap.
Sustainability Rating: 3 out of 5
Nordy’s washes dishes so if you eat in the restaurant it won’t be on disposable plates. And if you order your food to go it will come packaged in a plastic recyclable container and lid, except for some sides such as the corn bread, which is packaged in Styrofoam. For this reason and the bleached paper napkins I give Nordy’s a sustainability rating of 3.