Food & Dining

Comfort Food at Waltzing Kangaroo

Australian hand pies land in the Fort.

Steve and Aimée Phillips didn’t realize the coincidence when they opened their Fort Collins artisan pie eatery on Pi Day (3.14159, get it?), March 14, 2016.

THE AUSTRALIAN TRANSPLANTS celebrate their one-year anniversary with a parade of loyal locals and glowing reviews: “Can’t beat the flavor, convenience or price.” “Healthy and made with love.” “The BEST pastry I have ever tasted. Hands down.” All of Northern Colorado is raving.

Waltzing Kangaroo bakery and café specializes in authentic Aussie savory pies—a national dish made with savory meats and gravy—as well as rolls, quiches and desserts. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are scratch-made using ethically sourced raw ingredients and unbleached flour.

Steve Phillips, 38, grew up in his family’s bakeries just an hour and a half north of Sydney. He met his New Orleans–native wife during a ski bum stint in Keystone in 2003. The two returned to Australia where Phillips helped run a bakery and Aimée, 39, pursued her master’s degree as a librarian. They dreamt of opening a modern, café-style restaurant in America to “share the goodness of Australian artisan baking.”

They considered Truckee, California, tooled around Denver with their four-month-old and four-year-old sons, and then discovered Fort Collins one rainy day in May 2015. “It took us two hours to say ‘this is it, this is where we want to live,’” Phillips says, listing Old Town’s charm and architecture, down-to-earth people and stellar bike paths, parks and schools as top draws.

At Waltzing Kangaroo, they manage 11 employees; Phillips is the chef and pastry master and his wife handles marketing and finances.

A core menu revolves around gourmet meat pies and classic Australian sides and sweets—think mushy peas, mashed sweet potato and vanilla slice (an Aussie cake) with lemon icing. Homeland recipes are sometimes Americanized, Phillips says. There’s no kangaroo pie, but there’s a seasonal oven-roasted pork butt pie with apples and a New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale gravy.

The “Pie of the Month” is a consistent best-seller and runs the gamut of beef stroganoff to a turkey-cranberry-brie Thanksgiving design. Watch for a duck, red chiles and honey pie and a bison and red wine pie this spring. Find Waltzing Kangaroo on OrderUp delivery service.

Closed Sundays. 1109 W. Elizabeth St., 970-568-8817, waltzingkangaroo.com

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