Updated: Oct 30, 2019
Vision and the Burger, A Woman’s Success Story for Fort Collins
Tiffany Helton is a 30-something power-entrepreneur determined to run a memorable Northern Colorado restaurant. Not only is her disposition as sweet as pie, but her milkshakes, fries, and burgers are too beautiful and full of taste. I had the satisfaction of meeting the Co-owner, finding Stuft A Burger Bar is not just meat and yams. I’d label this bar as a portrait of good food and hospitality. Read on to learn more about the signature burger joint.
During the fall, and warmer months you can sit stylishly outdoors at the lounge’s sidewalk café. Tiffany states the busiest time of year is summer as patrons love people-watching the crowds strolling downtown, Fort Collins.
However, the interior of the venue is dark and just as alluring with the garage door closed creating a calming atmosphere for the cooler winter months. The heavy wood paneling makes for cozy dining whether you’re in for a dessert or a full meal. Even during cold temperatures, you’ll be warm with a spoiling staff.
Bring on the Pampering!
Tiffany ensures every customer is equally important where she takes service into serious consideration. The young businesswoman now owns 3 restaurants which are all getting rave reviews. However, you may not know the little lady is a mother of two small boys and married. You can imagine the busy life she’s got, yet she took the time to invite me to dine as her guest. I feel I’ve known Mrs. Helton like she’s a long-lost friend. I had the chance to find out why clients who choose Stuft is her biggest priority.
Beauty and the Burger, A Fort Collins Woman’s Success Story
Tiffany is equally a part of the burger lounge and has quite a history driving the bus to be one of the most sought after restaurants for the area. With over a decade of experience in the food industry, Helton held positions as a cook, server, bartender, and bouncer.
You would never assume a woman of her stature (5.5-feet and 125 lbs.) began her career with the title "bouncer." However, her determination to work at the venue she chose, landed her a gig taking anything, where she was motivating her way toward the top of a very successful food chain. But before her triumph as an owner, she took money at the door, helped with coat checks and started organizing the front of the house with her talent. Mrs. Helton’s experience became more solid as she worked in every position of the hospitality business. Those positions entailed her cooking on the line, where Chef Josh Pfeifer claims she’s a pro. Another forte for the humble woman is perfecting Stuft’s recipes. Helton describes her years working up is of value and asset but there’s always room for improvement.
“We’re hitting our 10-year anniversary next year.” She glows while commenting. “I’m further proud to say, we employ over 90 people between all 3-locations.” Besides having the pleasure of getting to know more about the business owner and her mission of providing great food and service, the best was yet to come.
Rather than starting with an appetizer, then hitting the main course, following up with the dessert, we agreed to be adults. The consensus made, allowed us to eat whatever we want without parents dictating our food protocol where we started with the LAST course.
Tiffany handcrafted a gorgeously and edible milkshake telling me how she came to make such beautiful creations. “Although we’ve had milkshakes on the menu, I wanted something special. The other mixture was dull and boring. So, it was easy deciding our recipes to impact bringing more treats ending with smiles.”
Customers rave over the red velvet milkshakes, found at Stuft. Using an old-school spindle method, the owner hand scoops the ice cream whipping the food into a scrumptious vat. She then tops it with whipped cream and a cupcake. I would describe the delicious sweet flavors as heavenly with a visual party as the presentation.
Prior to ordering, I explained I would rather have her surprise me with signature dishes instead of ordering what I normally like. It’s all about the experience and not just the food.
Describing my first dish from the menu, “The Hangover” presents quite a stir. I’ll admit, eating fried eggs on anything isn’t my preference. I never had an egg on a burger, but what a delight these ingredients were together. With yolk gently coating the burger locks in moisture, enhancing the beef. The flavorful construction of the sandwich includes, apple smoked bacon, American cheese, beef patty on a glazed donut and then dipped in maple syrup. Whether you’re craving breakfast, lunch or dinner you’ll find the choice to be pleasing. And my first egg burger encounter raises a 5-fork salute! Not only, did I enjoy this selection, but I found I was in for a real surprise with the next entrée.
The next burger Tiffany introduces offers an exotic combination of beef with pineapple. The Hawaiian includes an explosion of flavors with meat, sweet bacon, swiss cheese, shredded lettuce, and red onion. Even though I’m plain with my sandwiches, this is the perfect blend for innovative food. Dip this sandwich in teriyaki and you hit a home run!
I was happy to hear about the beef they use for their recipes. Tiffany describes “The meat we use is never frozen including an 80/20 blend allowing a juicy presentation. The meat comes from Castle Beef which is a local farm making the main course extra fresh.”
I paired the food with a nice Graffigna Malbec. Coming from Argentina this fermentation is smooth. Almost buttery in texture and with a medium leg makes the perfect mate for my main course.
On a side note: If you’re into wines, you’ll find this selection fascinating. The 145-year-old vineyard is in San Juan and was the first to pioneer the cold method during the vinification process. Vinification is the first step for harvesting and where the grapes mature. Storing the fruit in warm temperatures destroys the flavor. However, Graffigna’s discovery of using cold protects the product keeping it fresh and without bruising. The wine was delicious and so was the rest of the staff.
I became more educated after speaking with long-time employees like chef, Josh Pfeifer. The history surrounding the diner reaps kindness and respect. Pfeifer explains.
“Tiffany gave me my first opportunity when I first got out of the service.” The veteran worked his way up from dishwasher to his current title where loyalty to Tiffany and Jake meets no bounds and neither does the amount of food.
Josh brought me a plate of what I’ll term as ‘Irish Nachos.’ Kettle chips glazed with creamy guacamole, ripe tomatoes, sliced black olives and topped with sour cream made the perfect after-dinner appetizer. Assuming they made the chips of corn, the first bite was crunchy and nicely salted yet the surprise was finding out they were potato chips. (One of my favorite foods)
Did I mention there was no traditional form, and anything goes here? Rather, eating dessert before the main course, and ending with an appetizer lends to the whole experience which was nothing short of fun.
I’m sure you’ll enjoy the camaraderie when you belly up to the bar or bring your friends and family to dine at the Fort Collins location of Stuft A Burger Bar. Be sure to check out Tiffany’s other locations such as Windsor, Colorado and the Lonesome Buck which is a BBQ extravaganza.
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