We thought about not adding chain restaurants to the guide. But chain restaurants that offer good vegan options have an important role, as they help to bring vegan eating to mainstream, and provide us with something other than sad, wilty salads during road trips, quick lunches with coworkers, and when we're in cities with a less-than-stellar restaurant scene.
Here's the Vegan Coloradical roundup of vegan friendly chains in Colorado. Enjoy!
Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill
Garbanzo is a local Mediterranean chain with lots of vegan options that are labeled as such, including yoghurt-free baba ghanoush! Ordering is Chipotle-style: you pick a bowl, salad, or laffa (sadly, the pitas are not vegan), and move down the line accepting or declining delicious ingredients like seasoned rice, falafel, pickled eggplant, tabuleh, cilantro sauce, and hummus. All ingredients are very clearly marked as vegan, vegetarian, or gluten free. Garbanzo is inexpensive, has huge portions, and has locations in Denver, Glendale, Littleton, Highlands Ranch, Aurora, Greenwood Village, Englewood, Lone Tree, Boulder, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins.
Pizza and sandwiches! Each Mellow Mushroom is locally owned and operated, and so each one is a little different. The two Colorado locations (Denver and Centennial) offer Daiya cheese, BBQ Tofu, Pesto Tofu, Jerk Tofu, and Tempeh for pizzas and calzones, and tofu and tempeh hoagies that are veganizable.
Tokyo Joe's is a Colorado Japanese food chain with lots of vegan options for their noodle bowls, rice bowls, salads, and soups. The grilled tofu is pretty darn good, and the veggies are always fresh. Locations in Highlands Ranch, Lakewood, Littleton, Louisville, Westminster, Aurora, Boulder, Centennial, Denver, Englewood, Greenwood Village, Glendale, and Arvada.
Okay, so every vegan that doesn't live under a rock knows about Chipotle's giant, silver wrapped black bean burritos, and with more than 60 locations in Colorado alone, we're not going to list them all here.
Pizza Fusion boasts a 75% organic menu, and the Denver location has both Follow Your Heart mozzarella and vegan gluten free brownies. PF is super gluten-free-friendly, and has Boylans soda at the fountain.
Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods is kind of a vegan staple, and in addition to goodies like marshmallows, queso, and a bazillion kinds of non-dairy milk, most locations have good (and sometimes awesome) options in the deli, bakery, and at the hot bar. Hot tip: the Cherry Creek and Cap Hill locations in Denver have Mighty O vegan donuts in the pastry case, and the chocolate chip cookies at the Cap Hill WF are so, so good. Statewide, you can find Whole Foods Markets in Boulder, Denver, Golden, Lakewood, Colorado Springs, Highlands Ranch, Fort Collins, Superior, Centennial, Aurora, Greenwood Village, Glendale, and Westminster.
Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage
Natural Grocers is a Colorado-based natural grocery store chain with tons of locations throughout the state. You can find your standard vegan goods at Natural Grocers (Vegenaise, Earth Balance, etc), as well harder to find items and prepared meals and sandwiches in the deli case.
303 16th Street, Denver
National chain with well marked vegan options, including wraps, salads, and noodle bowls.
Did we miss anything? Let us know!