Colorado vegan road trip

by Patty Templeton

Swear to the Protein Overlords, there’s more to vegan eats than flax meal, beans, and kale. There’s ginormo burritos, ice cream, fries – oh yes, the fries – and plenty of other gut-busting good times for veg gourmands. The only problem? It takes a smidge of research to find fantastic, animal-free eats while on the road.

No worries, leaf nibblers, DGO’s got your back. We’ve had a lookey-loo across Colorado to find some of the badass vegan-friendly restaurants on your way through big cities across the state.

Boulder A Cup of Peace3216 Arapahoe Ave., #B, acupofpeace.comYes. Just yes. This authentic Korean joint has budget-friendly prices, a chill vibe, and healthy versions of Korean classics. (Mind you, that health factor means that the boba tea uses a non-standard boba powder that has much, much less sugar. You won’t get your dessert fix on boba tea here.) A Cup of Peace isn’t all-vegan, but almost every dish can be made vegan, and the menu is clearly marked. Super go here if you’re feeling like tea and talk. They have drinks for healing, peace, digestion, stress, and more.

DGO’s pick: The Brain Power Healing Tea and Dup Bob (Korean Barbeque Bowl).

Native Foods Café 1675 29th St., #1272, Foods is a chain, but it’s a VEGAN fast-casual chain. They’ve got the best dang buffalo wings that look disconcertingly chickeny. There’s a rotating seasonal selection to supplement the regular menu, which mainly consists of sammiches, burgers, and bowls.

DGO’s pick: The Big Ol’ BBQ Burger with seasoned fries and an Oatmeal Crème Pie for dessert. (Shit yes, you better split that oatmeal shindig with someone. It’s absurd-o sweet.)

Thrive1509 Arapahoe Ave., thriveraw.comWalk into Thrive and – POW – you’re hit with vibrant blues and purples, and even the grayest heart can feel happier upon entry. Veg food doesn’t have to be healthy, but Thrive sure as heck is. It’s vegan, raw, organic, gluten-free, and soy-free. There’s a mega-list of smoothies and each one labels what it tries to accomplish. For example, the Tropical Sunshine smoothie helps with radiant skin and acts as an anti-inflammatory. The smoothie menu is supplemented with salads, porridges, power snacks, and desserts that amiable staff can walk you through.

DGO’s pick: The Lavender Lacuma smoothie (it supposedly helps with calm), the Nori Wrap, and the Pad Thai Salad.

Also try these vegan-friendly Boulder restaurants: Jill’s (900 Walnut St.), Beyond Burger Bar at Whole Foods (2905 Pearl St.), and the vegan Monday buffet at Nepal Cuisine (4720 Table Mesa Dr. #C100).

Colorado Springs The Burrowing Owl 1791 S. Eighth St., burrowingowllounge.comGet ready to feel cool, because The Burrowing Owl is one of those chic-as-shit, dark wood, Insta-perfect places. Yes, they serve drinks in mason jars. They’re sustainable, hella friendly, and serve a 100 percent vegan menu. Expect bar classics like mac and cheese, soups, nachos, posh sloppy joes, and tricked out desserts. Not a bad price point, either. Entrees are about $8 to $12.

DGO’s pick: We are totally here for The Pueblo Sloppy with the strawberry cheesecake for dessert.

Moxie925 S. 8th St., livemoxie.coPut your red dress on, mama, cause we’re going to the fancy place tonight. Moxie is an upscale-casual vegan bistro. Their plates are Food Network af, and their craft cocktails are bangin’. It’s where you try gourmet dishes you’d be way too lazy to make at home. Oh, and hot tip: make an online reservation if you’re headed there on the weekend.

DGO’s pick: Shove your paycheck at them for the Tempura Zucchini Fries, Tempura Cauliflower Steak, and the Key Lime Torte for dessert.

Santana’s Vegan Grill3220 Austin Bluffs Pwky., santanasvegangrill.comYou’re in Colorado Springs with no time for a sit-down mouth-shovin’. You’re in luck. Santana’s is Colorado Springs’ only vegan drive-thru, and it actually has drive-thru prices. You can grab burgers, “chicken” sandwiches, fries, and other affordable fare for somewhere between $2 to $7.50. It’ll hit all yer burger shack wants.

DGO’s pick: Get a gorgeous, greasy gutfull with a Deluxe Cheeseburger and fries.

Trinity Brewing1466 Garden of the Gods Rd., trinitybrew.comWoe, WOE, for not all beer is vegan. Some of the clarifiers used by brewers are animal agents. Eek. But everything on tap at Trinity uses vegan findings. There will be the odd beer that uses honey or is a milk stout, but most of the beers are vegan. And, AND! The American comfort food menu has markings for vegetarian and vegan options, which are plentiful.

DGO’s pick: Buckle in for starters like the Vegan Corn Dogs or the Pickled (Brussels) Sprouts, then nom into the Vegan Pulled Pork Sammy.

Also try these vegan-friendly Colorado Springs restaurants: Willamette Market & Deli (749 E. Willamette Ave.) and Ola Juice Bar (27 E. Kiowa St.).

DenverBeet Box1030 E. 22nd Ave., beetboxdenver.comRED ALERT. ALL VEGAN BAKERY AHEAD! Yes, we are suggesting that you stuff yourself with pastries for a meal, especially if you’ve made it to adulthood without having cupcakes as dinner. Sure, they also have lunch sandwiches, so if you insist, you can have a Chickpea of the Sea sandwich with a side of mint-quinoa salad, but we tend to gorge ourselves on savory tarts and sweets when there. AND! There are seasonal specialties so the menu never goes stale.

DGO’s picks: The Green Onion Chive Scone, the Apple Donut, and the freakin’ Cinnamon Roll. Yowza. All of it. Just all of it. In our mouths. Please and now.

City O’ City 206 E. 13th Ave., cityocitydenver.comCan you say vegan-friendly happy hour? WA and HOO! Vegan bar food on the cheap from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. every day – you’re gonna want the seitan wings or poutine. But the rest of the day? DELISH, too! This boho vegetarian joint has a heckton of menu-marked vegan options, from pizza to wraps and waffles to udon. No joke, City O’ City makes us giddy, and the kitchen’s open till 1 a.m. F and yes.

DGO’s pick: Everything. But if not everything, then the BBQ Mac Wrap with fries or whatever the ever-changing “chicken” and waffles choice is. Plus, you’re gonna wanna try the Cupcake of the Day (delivered fresh to City O’ City by the 100 percent vegan Make, Believe Bakery).

Meta Burger 7950 E. Mississippi Ave., metaburger.comMeta Burger is rad. Not only is their American classic comfort food fantastic, they are also dedicated to offering competitive wages to employees and making a plant-based diet affordable. Their small menu mainly features burgers, hot dogs, shakes, and snacks. It is perfect for a quick lunch or dinner.

DGO’s picks: The Texan Burger with a side of Chili Cheese Fries to split between you and friends. (They are WAFFLE FRIES! We die for waffle fries.)

Also try these vegan-friendly Denver restaurants: ARE YOU KIDDING THERE ARE SO MANY. But a starter list would include Voodoo Doughnut (1520 E. Colfax Ave.), Watercourse Foods (837 E. 17th Ave.), the Wong Way Veg food truck (locations vary), and Hopdoddy Burger Bar (1747 Wynkoop St.).

Fort CollinsGold Leaf Collective120 W. Laurel St., thegoldleafcollective.comFamily-owned and animal-free, this all-vegan restaurant was sprouted from running The Silver Seed, a vegan food truck. Gold Leaf doesn’t take reservations, and watch their hours. It’s 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Sunday to Wednesday, but has extended dinner hours the rest of the week. The menu’s seasonal, and it’ll kick your ass into gladness. Entrees run $12 to $16 but are dang sizable. You won’t leave here hungry.

DGO’s picks: The Smothered Fries appetizer and the Dagwood sandwich with a side of Mac and Shew. If you have room, go for the Salted Maple Donuts for dessert.

Rainbow Restaurant212 W. Laurel St., rainbowfoco.comRainbow Restaurant specializes in vegetarian and vegan breakfasts and lunches. It’s open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., and is the kinda food that will leave you with pep in your step rather than a brick in the belly. Added bonus: vegan coffee cake options.

DGO’s pick: For breakfast, Steve’s Choice or the Buenos Dias. For lunch, the Sweet Potato Burrito.

Also try these vegan-friendly FoCo restaurants: Maza Kabob (2427 S. College Ave.), Tasty Harmony (160 W. Oak St.), and Nyla Ethiopian Cuisine (2900 Harvard St. #A).


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