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Serving Hope: Great Plates of Downtown™ Restaurants Rally for Hunger Relief, Raising $105,661

DOWNTOWN FORT COLLINS, CO., April 1, 2024 — The heartwarming success story of community support continues as the Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority (DDA), along with 50 beloved Downtown Fort Collins restaurants, joins with the Food Bank for Larimer County to proudly announce the 2024 Great Plates of Downtown™ fundraising total of $105,661.

Great Plates of Downtown™ Unites Community for a Greater Purpose

In an uplifting display of unity, our community came together from March 1 – 14 to indulge in the culinary delights offered at 50 Downtown Fort Collins restaurants. With over 85 tempting breakfast options, mouthwatering lunch and dinner specials, and all-day flexible menu options, each plate inspired generosity and compassion.

This year, diners experienced curated menu specials at various price points, including $25, $35, $45, and $15 & Under, while helping those in need. By donating directly to the Food Bank and sharing meals with others, the community came together to make a significant impact. Over the years, the number of participating restaurants has increased from 29 in 2008, raising $7,360, to 50 in 2024, raising $105,661. This remarkable achievement is a testament to the power of collective action and our community's unwavering spirit of generosity. Holli McElwee, owner of Kilwins Chocolates and Ice Cream, evokes the spirit of this initiative, expressing her gratitude for the community's response:

“It was a sincere privilege to participate in Great Plates. Our customers were hungry to contribute, and it was incredible to witness the positive impact of the promotion, the increased business, the expanded online reach, and the contagious buzz among patrons in the downtown area, all while supporting such an important cause: addressing food scarcity among our community’s most vulnerable populations. Thank you, DDA, for allowing Kilwins to participate in this beautiful ripple effect.”

Holli McElwee, Owner of Kilwins Chocolates and Ice Cream

Great Plates is proud to support the Food Bank for Larimer County. This beloved culinary celebration reflects our commitment to the well-being of our community, where every dollar collected makes a difference in the lives of those who need it the most. Joyce, a 60-year-old grandmother of four and a former nurse with 32 years of experience, reflects on the invaluable support she receives beyond SNAP benefits at the local Food Bank. 

"If I were to rely solely on SNAP benefits, it simply wouldn't be enough," Joyce explained. "A hundred dollars a month isn't sufficient to sustain me for thirty days. This additional assistance has truly been a lifeline. Words fail to adequately express my gratitude."

Joyce, Food Bank for Larimer County Client

Since 2008, Great Plates has contributed over $1,262,980, translating to over 2,525,950 meals served. This is a significant achievement, and we are dedicated to continuing our efforts to positively impact future hunger relief in our community. For more information on the Food Bank for Larimer County, visit

“Great Plates of Downtown™ is just one testament to our local restaurants' incredible skill and hard work. We are so thankful for the time, energy, and creativity these partners poured into this promotion to help support our hunger relief programs. We sincerely hope that everyone in our community got a chance to try this year’s amazing menu specials. We are also deeply thankful to the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) for another successful year — and to all those who turned out to explore the many culinary delights offered and who made a donation. We couldn’t do the work we do without our community! Thank you for helping us to provide food for so many people across Larimer County.”

Amy Pezzani, CEO of Food Bank for Larimer County

Top Fundraising Restaurants and Heartfelt Gratitude to All Participants

Recognizing Great Plates 2024 achievements, this year’s top five fundraising restaurants for donations collected are Social, Rodizio Grill Fort Collins, The Melting Pot Fort Collins, Union Bar & Soda Fountain, and Blue Agave Grill.

“We are so grateful to be part of another successful Great Plates! Our staff really gets behind the focus of this promotion, which is to raise money for the Food Bank for Larimer County. We all deeply care about our Northern Colorado community, and this is an amazing opportunity for us all to support an amazing organization.” Ty continues, “I would like to extend a huge thank you to all our guests for their support and donations, as well as our team for their hard work over the two weeks. I am also incredibly proud of our three sister restaurants for joining us in raising a combined total of over $50,000! Great job, teams!"

Ty Fulcher, Founder of Social and Co-Owner of Union, Rodizio Grill, and The Melting Pot

An additional thanks go to all of the 2024 Great Plates participants:

  • Ace Gillett's Lounge
  • Austin's American Grill
  • Beau Jo's Pizza
  • Big Al's Burgers and Dogs
  • Bistro Nautile
  • Blanchard Family Wines
  • Blue Agave Grill
  • Butterfly Cafe
  • Choice City FoCo
  • Comet Chicken
  • CooperSmith's Pub & Brewing
  • CopperMuse Distillery
  • FoCo Cafe
  • Gaku Ramen Fort Collins
  • Gilded Goat Brewing Company
  • Illegal Pete's
  • Kilwins Chocolates & Ice Cream
  • La Piadina – Italian Flatbread Sandwiches
  • Locust Cider
  • LuLu Asian Bistro
  • Mugs at CSU
  • Mugs Old Town
  • Old Town Churn
  • Philippe Bistro
  • Pour Brothers Community Tavern
  • RARE Italian
  • Restaurant 415
  • Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant
  • Rodizio Grill Fort Collins
  • Scrumpy's Hard Cider Bar
  • Silver Grill Cafe
  • Social
  • Sonny Lubick Steakhouse
  • STUFT a burger bar
  • The Corner Slice
  • The Crooked Cup
  • The Emporium: An American Brasserie
  • The Melting Pot Fort Collins
  • The Regional
  • The Reserve by Old Elk Distillery
  • The Still Whiskey Steaks
  • The Welsh Rabbit Cheese Shop
  • Tom Kha Thai Asian Bistro
  • Union Bar & Soda Fountain
  • Uno Mas Taqueria Y Cantina
  • Urban Egg a daytime eatery
  • Vatos Tacos & Tequila
  • Wagz Pet Market & Grooming
  • Walrus Ice Cream
  • Yellow Crunch

Demonstrating Community Commitment

The annual Great Plates of Downtown promotion continues to receive enthusiastic participation from the downtown restaurants, whose skilled workforce and the community's unwavering support have a positive impact. People Behind the Plates highlights the passionate individuals who work their magic at a few of our Great Plates restaurants, showcasing the dedication and talent that make the Downtown Fort Collins restaurant scene so special.

As we eagerly anticipate commemorating this beloved culinary and community tradition's 20th Anniversary in 2025, we extend a heartfelt invitation to new and returning patrons to celebrate the spirit of togetherness with us! 

About the Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority

The Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority (DDA) was established in 1981 to revitalize the central business district. The DDA combines public and private investments through tax increment financing to achieve this objective and emphasizes community initiatives that benefit downtown. In 2020, the DDA introduced the Business Marketing and Communications Program, which employs traditional and innovative methods to promote economic, cultural, and social growth through a variety of initiatives.

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