In a surprise announcement this week, a beloved Colorado restaurant, which has been locally owned and operated for over four decades, will sadly be closing its doors on January 31st.

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Iconic Local Colorado Restaurant Permanently Closing This Month


It's the surprise closings that usually impact you the most. When you think of your favorite shop, store, restaurant, etc. you don't typically think "What if this place closes tomorrow?" So when a surprise "we're closing" announcement pops up on a random Wednesday night, it can really bring you down.

A beloved restaurant that was originally opened by a husband and wife duo back in 1980, announced that January of 2024 would be its final month in business as they have made the hard and sad decision to close up, for good.

Jay's Bistro In Fort Collins, Colorado, To Permanently Close This Month

Opened by Jay and Jaki Witlen as Cafe Columbine, Jay's Bistro, as it's now known, has been serving up delicious food and cocktails, and creating memories for hundreds of thousands of customers, many of them loyal repeat customers, for over four decades. Sadly, it's truly the end of an era as this long-standing Northern Colorado Icon will be serving its final meals later this month at College and Oak in Fort Collins.

In a post on Jay's Bistro's Facebook page, they informed us all of their tough decision to close this restaurant staple...

We want to thank the Fort Collins community for supporting Jay’s for decades. We’ve decided to close Jay’s Bistro on January 31st. We are full of gratitude for all of the support we have received. We hope you will stop in one last time and share your favorite memories of Jay’s with us.

The post has received hundreds of comments in less than 24 hours reacting to the heartbreaking news, including one from one of Jay's original owners, Jaki Witlen that said:

Jay and I opened Cafe Columbine in 1980 and after many iterations of that tiny restaurant, we opened up on the downtown corner of College & Oak, and pinched ourselves over our luck. We spent 10 successful years, and our hard work paid off. We purchased the building that everyone now knows is closing in 2001 and our labor of love continued. Along the way we created memories, made some darned good food, created a special musical venue with our friends, especially the Sloniker family, were blessed with great kitchen staff and leaders, and a staff we still think of as family. All our efforts given were returned to us many times over. We held our heads high and danced ourselves out the door 10 years ago to live on the Mediterranean (our dream always). An institution is closing and we now wish Colin and his staff the best as they go forward. Remember the times you spent at Jay's today and think about those special memories that are only yours. Good luck Colin. Love from Jay and Jacki.

As mentioned in Jaki's post, she and Jay sold the restaurant back in 2014. Jay's Bistro is currently owned by Colin Randall and Rhys Edmunds, who took over in 2018 after being part of the magical restaurant and jazz bar for over a decade.

With so many personal memories of Jay's over the years, this is a tough one to wrap my head around. While publically there isn't an official reason for the closure, times have certainly changed in recent years and it's become harder than ever to run most local businesses. Please do what you can to support our amazing local Colorado businesses or sadly we'll continue to say goodbye to community icons like Jay's.

Thank you, Jay, Jaki, Rhys, and Colin for decades full of amazing memories at your truly unique and fantastic establishment. It will be missed. Cheers.

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