Fort Collins restaurant/bakery, Ginger and Baker, opens in the historic Northern Colorado Feeders Supply building | TheFencePost.com

Fort Collins restaurant/bakery, Ginger and Baker, opens in the historic Northern Colorado Feeders Supply building

As Ginger Graham walked through her new restaurant/bakery combo in Fort Collins, Colo., on Nov. 7, people were constantly coming to her and asking questions.

There were two days left until the soft opening, and everyone was working to make sure the shop would be ready.

"There's about 800 billion details you don't know in advance, and so we're still making, even now, all day and all night decisions on finishes, trying to make sure we get it just right all the way through," Graham said.

"It's been an adventure, let me tell you," she added.

Graham was excited for one of the biggest additions to the shop — windows. On a below-freezing day last week, window installation was wrapping up at about 3:30 p.m.

Finally, more than a year after a groundbreaking ceremony in 2016, the historic Northern Colorado Feeders Supply Building in Fort Collins will once again be a meeting place for folks.

That's one of the aspects Graham said she's excited for.

FARMING ROOTS

The restaurant/bakery combo called Ginger and Baker, started as a pie shop. Graham wanted to start one because of her love of baking.

It was one of her favorite things to do growing up in Springdale, Ark., a community she likens to Fort Collins due to its close-proximity to the University of Arkansas.

She grew up on a farm, and her and her husband Jack Graham — former athletic director at Colorado State University who ran in the Colorado primary for the nomination for senator in 2016 — live on a farm in Fort Collins.

She plans to use fruit and herbs from her farm, along with foods from other local producers. She puts much of herself into her work, and her southern roots are a big part of that.

"A lot of my life was spent cooking and serving food," Graham said. "My parents fed anybody who was hungry, took food to people. … Any occasion, my parents fed other people, and I think that makes you feel part of a community."

NEW MEETS OLD

The entrance into the shop used to be the spot that brought farmers, mill workers, townspeople and others together. That's the same experience Graham expects customers to have when entering.

"The fact that this building, which has meant so much to Fort Collins, still can be a gathering place for people — to have fun and have experiences, to celebrate together — I just think that's what communities should do together," she said.

The market is the first room customers will enter, but one of the first things customers will see is a bakery display.

Ginger and Baker will have a café, two restaurants, a rooftop bar and a market.

The café sits on the other side of the market.

The floor is new, but the walls still have the original brick and the area where the baked goods and coffee are is made out of the original wood from the mill.

It was important, Graham said, to preserve as much of the old wood as possible. It'll be easy to see the wood in multiple parts of the business, including the artwork.

Graham knows the building's history is important, and she worked to preserve as much as she could.

It wasn't simple, and definitely wasn't easy.

The mill is on the National Register of Historic Places and the State Register of Historic Properties, which means Graham was limited on certain renovations. She couldn’t install heating or air conditioning and to utilize the second story, an elevator was needed. That couldn’t be installed either.

The original idea was a simple pie shop. That was her goal, but when she looked into the mill there was a feasibility study done and it determined that her pie shop wouldn't work in the building.

But what could, and did, happen was the addition of a new building next to the mill. Graham got permission to morph the two buildings together. Now there's an elevator, plus she was able install a pipe, which will move hot and cool air into the old building without compromising the historical building.

Crews had to lift the building to place a new foundation. In the wine cellar, which is in the basement of the mill, the walls are lined with preserved wood to hide the new cement foundation.

Since the only way Graham could use the mill was with a whole new building attached to it, she needed to make sure that it made sense financially.

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So, there are two new restaurants going in as well. Graham said they're focusing on local foods for the two restaurants. The first is on the bottom floor and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The second, named The Cache after the Cache la Poudre River, will be a little fancier with only dinner and weekend brunch served.

The Cache is a large windowed room that has a unique view. The "point" is a sharp, angled corner of The Cache that overlooks the old and new parts of Fort Collins. It's one of her favorite spots because, as also is the case at Ginger and Baker, you can see the meeting of the old and new. ❖

Grand opening and hours of operation

Ginger and Baker is located at 359 Linden St., Fort Collins, Colo.

Market & Bakery

7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday

7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday

The Rooftop

4-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday

4-10 p.m. Friday

9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday

9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday

The Café

7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday

7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday

The Cache

4-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday

4-10 p.m. Friday

9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4-10 p.m. Saturday

9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4-9 p.m. Sunday

Other features

Along with the restaurants and cafe, there also will be a market, events center, rooftop bar and teaching kitchen.

The teaching kitchen will include cooking and craft classes. A full list of the times and dates are on Ginger and Baker’s website.

To use either the Mill Top or Wine Cellar for private events, go to the company’s website.

Fore more information go to gingerandbaker.com or call (970) 233-7437.