Owner of Avogadro’s Number Made Healthy Switch from Ice Cream to Independent Music

By Conor Hooley

Part bar, part restaurant, part music venue; Fort Collins’ Avogadro’s Number has operated for four decades just south of Old Town – becoming a linchpin of the local music scene.

Since 1980, it has been under the care of one Rob Osborne, a man who came into ownership of Avo’s thanks to…ice cream.

It’s true. Osborne spent the latter half of the 1970s running a Mountain High Ice Cream parlor on Boulder’s famed Pearl Street Mall. The then-owner of Avo’s, its fourth since opening in 1971, also had his own Mountain High parlor, which is how he and Osborne were introduced.

When the two met to discuss frozen dessert-related matters in September of 1979, Osborne incidentally found out that Avo’s was for sale. Osborne raised the needed funds in a weekend and got out of the ice cream game.

“The figures looked good,” he recalls. “I liked [the former owner] and I liked the business. I never thought of it as a long-range plan – I didn’t realize I was going to be doing it for the better part of my life.”

The man who stabilized ownership at Avo’s sees it as being wholly unique. In terms of food, the kitchen serves a comprehensive menu, ranging from pizza to homemade tempeh. Regarding ambiance, Osborne describes the venue’s atmosphere as having always been very feminine in a way he can’t quite describe. Musically, Osborne sees Avo’s as a “stepping-stone” venue – and he couldn’t be happier.

“Avo’s is a 100-person (200 when the patio’s open) venue, so for musicians that can draw in that range, it works well,” he observes. “But eventually if they need a larger venue they can move on. So we kind of help them along the way, and that’s something I feel very good about.”

Perhaps it’s fitting then that Osborne has seen a lot of growth in the local music scene in his time in Fort Collins – in many ways, he’s helped cultivate it.

And he’s all too happy to see more, offering nothing but praise for large-scale local music festivals like NewWestFest and the upcoming FoCoMX.

“Those are huge things, just amazing,” he says. “A really nice way to draw attention to local artists.”

Unsurprisingly, Avo’s will have a full slate of live music all day Friday and Saturday for FoCoMX. Lineups and schedules will be available at avogadros.com.

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