by Kristen Browning-Blas on January 19, 2010
It’s hard to say which is sunnier, bartender Sandy Beardsley or the avgolemono soup she so cheerily serves at Cafe Athens in Fort Collins. If she’s not too busy, Beardsley will tell you how she makes the lemon-chicken stock, but she won’t give you the recipe.
“I lived outside Chicago for 14 years and went to all the Greek restaurants in Greektown. I loved that soup, but they wouldn’t give me the recipe because I wasn’t Greek,” she says. “After four pots I figured out how to get the lemon and the eggs together and make it creamy.”
Her version is bright with lemon flavor (she uses fresh juice and zest) and rich with shredded chicken and rice. It’s what got her hired, says owner Cary Deschene, who orders some of his menu items from those same Greektown suppliers in Chicago. He serves Greek-made retsina (the piney white wine) and Hillas Lager, brewed in Rodopi, Greece.
After years of operating Renzios franchises, brothers Cary and Del Deschene opened Cafe Athens a year ago in a new shopping center on the southeast edge of Fort Collins. The brothers aim higher than food-court fare with a full bar and a menu full of Greek staples — gyros, souvlaki, saganaki and baklava — along with cheeseburgers, coconut shrimp and feta-cheese pizzas. The portions are large enough that you will probably need a take-home box.
– CAFE ATHENS –
Greek. Front Range Village, 2842 Council Tree Ave. (at Harmony Road), Fort Collins, 970-232-9084. Open 11 a.m.- p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday
– Kristen Browning-Blas