Cute New Café with Wine Opens Off the Beaten Path in Colorado
It's not in a place you'd necessarily expect to find a nice little place for food and some wine. Where once over 4,500 workers grabbed lunch every day, now there is a café open to the public.
The café resides in a piece of not only Loveland's but Northern Colorado's history. It's comfortable and bright, and worth your initial worry of "Is this the right place?'
At the northeast corner of Taft Avenue and SW 14th Street in Loveland is the former Hewlett Packard (HP) facility/campus. With all the growth that has happened in that area, it's hard to imagine when the large "plant" was all alone up on "HP Hill." That HP plant opened in 1962; here we are 60 years later, and though it's not HP anymore, businesses are thriving inside that campus, including this café.
When HP opened the Loveland, Colorado, facility, it was the first facility that was outside of the company's birthplace in the San Francisco area. Over 7,000 workers were there, creating and making calculators and personal computers. Living in Loveland during the '60s through the '80s, meant either working there, knowing someone who did, or supporting the staff in some way.
Today the campus, known now as The Forge, houses several companies, most notably Lightning E-Motors, which employs about 200+ people. With those staffers and the other people working at the other businesses within The Forge, resurrecting the old HP cafeteria was a great idea.
Beginning in March of 2023, two restaurant professionals in Loveland have come together to create this café, Col Kitchen and café. "Col" is pronounced "Cole" - as in "collaboration," and "collective," according to Tracie Hartman one of the two owners of the business, whom I spoke with when I stopped in. Tracie is the operator of Fresh Plate Catering, which has been using the former HP kitchen, which is a commissary kitchen. The other owner is Jeff Noffsinger, who used to own and operate Origins Wine Bar & Wood-Fired Pizza.
Those who miss Origins Pizza can look forward to Jeff firing up one of the restaurant's pizza ovens, now at The Forge.
Currently, they are open from 7:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., but speaking with Tracie, she told me that they are looking forward to holding "Thirsty Thursdays" and Friday events where they will stay open until 7 p.m. Those events will be taking advantage of the ample space they have outside, where their liquor license allows for adult beverages, such as wine and local craft beer.
They have a great kitchen staff, fixing up breakfast burgers/sandwiches and hot lunches as well. The kitchen for Col is also a commissary kitchen, which others can use to produce their food items, which helps out other businesses in the area. According to the Reporter-Herald, they'll also use the kitchen for instruction purposes.
Col is located in a "different " kind of space than you may be used to, but it is really great. They are located, specifically, at 815 14th St. SW B100.