Everything I Ate In Denver (as a Vegetarian)

It’s no secret: I ate a lot of really delicious food in Denver in October. I didn’t have a whole lot of time to research places to eat beforehand since I decided to make the pilgrimage out west with about two weeks notice but I certainly made do.

When I first arrived in LoDo, I navigated my way from Union Station to my hotel and on the way I stopped at Little Owl Coffee. I grabbed an iced coffee from the tiny little shop on the first floor of a hotel and kept going. It was fine, I guess. The shop was really small and menu was limited, but the coffee, I suppose, was good.

I had a list of places to try as far as food went and I decided to get some fast-casual Mexican food at a place called Illegal Pete’s on 16th Street. It’s like the hipper, grittier cousin to Chipotle. I had a burrito with all the fixins’ – roasted potatoes, guac, rice, beans, sautéed onions and peppers, a little cheese, green chilis, etc. As I looked at the bill that totaled like, $9, I knew I wasn’t in Kansas (or Manhattan) anymore. Honestly, this tasted exactly like Chipotle, so if you’ve had Chipotle, you can skip this on. Unless of course you’re in Denver and want fast-casual Mexican food, then by all means.

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A really unattractive photo of my massive burrito.

Later that day I went to the Mermaid’s Bakery and caught them moments before they were closing up. I had to make a pretty quick decision so I went with the Turtle Cupcake (chocolate cake, vanilla frosting, with caramel and chocolate drizzle on with nuts). It was tasty, but nothing like New York City cupcakes.

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I worked up an appetite at a Flywheel class that afternoon plus hours of walking around so I decided to get dinner at Denver’s oldest brewery – the Wynkoop Brewing Company. I went half healthy and half unhealthy with a goat cheese salad and mac’n’cheese. The portions were both massive and I only ate half of the mac’n’cheese. (I gave the other half to someone on the street.) I forget which one of the beers I had, but it was definitely one of the pale ones. This was a lovely place to fuel up after a long day before a two and a half hour walking tour.

That night when we stopped at Union Station on the walking tour, we disbanded the group so people could grab drinks before listening to the next story and I opted for a boozy dessert at the Milkbox Ice Creamery. For only $9, I had a sizable, delicious dessert/drink. I believe I had the 1881 which was a butterscotch ice cream and bourbon. It was delicious.

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The next morning I took a long walk down 17th Street on my way to the Denver Zoo and on my way I stopped for coffee first at Fluid Coffee, I think, because the name was just so ridiculous. I don’t remember what I had, but I remember thinking it was good. I was just so taken aback by the name that I could hard focus on anything else. Who named this place???

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My last stop before heading to the Denver Zoo was Watercourse Foods. I’m not vegan, but I’m always curious to try vegan foods in other cities so I found this place while Googling suggestions and I’m certainly happy I found it. This place is warm and inviting and the food is creative and goddamn delicious.

I had an almond milk latte, a fresh orange juice, and the “fried buttermilk chicken and waffles.” The chicken was obviously cauliflower but you would never know. I was blown away and I did my best to consume and savor every single bite. I asked the bartender if they get a lot of non-vegan customers, too, and she said yes, everyone comes in. That much I could see from the never ending line of people walking through the door.

After brunch and after visiting the Denver Zoo, I had 45 minutes to go explore the Capital Hill district of Denver and I popped first into Pablo’s Coffee (Pennsylvania Avenue and 13th Street) for a coffee.

After browsing through Beacon’s Closet and before heading back to Molly Brown’s House, I bought a couple of snacks at City O’City (13th and Sherman), a strictly vegetarian joint with super cool vibes. I picked up a dark chocolate homemade peanut butter cup and a plant-based pumpkin-cheesecake bar (both were decadent and delicious). I was hungry for neither but I thought that I would be at some point later that day so I should be prepared. (I’m so smart.)

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I’m pretty sure after all that delicious food that I didn’t eat again until dinner when I went to Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox. I wrote here about what a cool venue it is and you should definitely check it out if you’re in town (and if you hate sleeping, they also have an adjoining hostel that I’m sure is super quiet /s), but this is about the food.

I sat at the bar and I had the veggie flatbread pizza and one of their super sweet, brightly colored cocktails (unfortunately I can’t remember which one). It hit the spot after a long day of walking around and sight-seeing. Remember, it was also the weekend before Halloween so there were lots of people there in costume for extra entertainment even without a show going on.

My last stop for the night was back at the Milbox Ice Creamery in Union Station, where we’d visited the night before the epic LoDo ghost tour. I decided to try a small mint chocolate chip (I think) and it was a delicious end to my second evening in Denver.

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My last meal in Denver was at the Snooze AM Eatery in Union Station before I grabbed the light rail back to the airport. I had a grain bowl and a mimosa and it was delicious. It had eggs and avocado and toasted pines nuts. My mouth is basically watering just thinking about it.

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I think that’s it. If I ate anything else, I can’t imagine how I fit it into my digestive system. The only place I’d say you could skip would be Illegal Pete’s, but the others are recommended, 10/10.

What are your favorite places to eat in Denver? Let me know below!

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