Written by Grey Zander
Illustration by Madison Otten
A specialty restaurant is going to be better than your uncle Joey buying a slab of ground beef and throwing it on the grill, right? Well, not always. It is hard to run a restaurant. However, when some restaurants do it right, you’re in for some of the best food you’ll ever taste. The restaurant I’ll be evaluating is called Acreage, owned by Stem Ciders. It was founded in 2013 by Eric Foster and Phil Kao. I chose this place because it’s near my home. The criteria I’ll be comparing it to are these: atmosphere, service, food quality, and beverages.
We went in at 3 p.m on Friday, and even though it just opened, customers were already there. When you walk into this restaurant, it has a warm, rustic feel, with wooden tables and the smell of wood-burning ovens and meat on the grill that hits you when you walk in. There’s indoor and outdoor seating, each of them great. You’re greeted with the sounds of families playing lawn games. The outdoor area has picnic tables, fireplaces for colder days and bean bag toss, if the weather is fitting. The Acreage has the overall feel of friends and small-town community, an important draw for customers to consider when deciding on a restaurant.
The two complaints I have were the music and the bathrooms. While the bathrooms were nice for the most part, the sinks were scratched but still high quality, and the floor was clean, the complaint I have was about the urinals: there weren’t any. When I walked into the men’s room, I thought, “Am I in the right restroom?” and then realized I was.
However, the biggest complaint I have about this restaurant is the music. It wasn’t the worst I’ve ever heard, but it sounded like some weird mix of country and folk music. The best way I can describe it is this: imagine a failing farm trying to get back into business and their one idea to save it is to make an inspirational video about how they can give you some fresh beets. This would have been the music used in that video. It was unappealing and a distraction from the friendly atmosphere in the restaurant.
The service, overall, was good. Getting a table was very fast and easy, and it didn’t take long to get our first drinks. We had a friendly waitress, but we had to ask for refills. The nicest thing about the service was the wait time. Within seven minutes of ordering our appetizers and 15 minutes of ordering our entrees, they arrived. The speed of preparing the dishes did not affect their taste at all.
Besides a few small complaints, the taste and the quality of the food was great. We started with the Acreage fries and the Basque fries. The Acreage fries were more traditional style fries; they were crispy, but not dry. They tasted fresh and came with a side of a sweet tangy dip. The Basque fries were not my favorite. The flavor they were tossed in had a bit too much lemon, with parmesan cheese on top. Another appetizer we got was the Salami Platter. The seasoning was good and spicy, but there was almost too much of it. The bread had a sweet flavor to it, as did the pickled vegetables.
The entrees we ordered were the pork chops, bratwurst, and burger. The pork chops by themselves were plain and needed seasoning but came with a sweet and spicy dip. The bratwurst was well flavored, marinated in cider and had a very particular taste. The burger was good, had high quality flavor and was very juicy. The only complaint I had about the burger was that it was messy; the bread was just a tiny bit soggy from all that juice.
The dessert we had afterward were doughnuts, with a nice consistency and had a funnel cake personality.
One thing the Acreage is very proud of and even sells at a small store next to the kitchen is their beverages, and, more specifically, their hard cider. Before I go into that, let’s talk about nonalcoholic options. There is soda, but it’s not the chain soda like Coca-Cola; it has a higher quality taste than normal. The kombucha I ordered was nice and had a peach-like flavor. Although it had a small bite to it, it wasn’t nearly as much as I’d usually like in that kind of drink.
The cider is held as their signature drink. Half of the restaurant, is in fact, a cidery. And even though I can’t drink, (since I’m underage), I brought two people with me who could try it. One of their favorite ciders is the Chilean Guava, and according to them, it “has a nice balance between dry and sweet, has just a touch of spice.” Another cider is the Jalapeno, which has “a subtle pear taste, but packs a little more heat than the Chilean Guava.”
Overall, my evaluation of the place is good, besides a few complaints. It’s a great place for a big family to go out and have a good time, especially if they are coming in from out of town and want to see the mountains. Keep in mind the in-house music could use some work, and that the bathrooms need some getting used to, but besides that, a great place for a night out.
Address: 1380 Horizon Ave, Lafayette, CO 80026
Hours: 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, noon to 9 p.m. Sunday
Food: Comfort Food, Small Plates
How much: $4-$14 appetizers; $7-$17 entrees; $8 desserts
How loud: moderate
Reservations: parties of 10 or more
Information: (303) 227-3243