If you're vegetarian in Denver, then you most likely already know about City, O' City and its sister restaurant, WaterCourse Foods. There's a reason that both of these restaurants are so popular: The wine and beer options are fabulous, the food is delicious, and both offer plenty of options for vegans.
Both venues tend to be packed with hipsters, but City, O' City is perhaps a smidge better for people-watching: You can look all around the unobstructed dining room and watch Denver's veggie-eaters reading Marx on one of the couches by the window, or tapping away on a MacBook using the restaurant's free wireless. At any given moment, you might overhear a discussion on whether it's hypocritical for an atheist to say "Bless you" after someone sneezes, or an in-depth philosophical argument about whether Nietzsche or Sartre had the more accurate worldview. City, O' City is family-friendly, and there are often couples with small children dining in, but usually most of the tables are taken up by couples on dates or groups of friends who come for the happy hour and stay for the vibe and the conversation.
And the food, naturally. The seitan wings at City, O' City are served in a paper-lined basket with ranch dressing and celery; the buffalo wing sauce is so hot, it'll make your nose run and your eyes water as soon as your server places it on the table. They're a satisfying $8 replacement for boneless buffalo wings, and you can also order them with teriyaki sauce. (And if your tablemates aren't interested in splitting an appetizer, the buffalo seitan wrap on the "Hand Held" menu comes wrapped in a tortilla with Caesar salad and Parmesan cheese.)
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The joint is also well known for its thin-crust pizza, baked until the bottom is crisp with black bubbles. You can build your own ten- or eighteen-inch pie, but be sure to check out the specialty pizzas; often, it's cheaper to order one and swap out an ingredient or two than to start from scratch. Pictured above is the $22 eighteen-inch Animal Lovers, with red sauce, seitan sausage, seitan pepperoni, caramelized onions, mushrooms, mozzarella and jalapenos. Vegan mozzarella, sheep's-milk feta, chipotle marinara, cage-free eggs, marinated eggplant and capers are just a few of the other toppings available for pizzas; the Urban Cowgirl, with chipotle marinara, pineapple, green peppers, cilantro, onion rings and mozzarella, is another favorite.
City, O' City also offers a limited breakfast menu with killer burritos (scrambled tofu available), empanadas, quiches and biscuits-and-gravy -- and it's usually less crowded there on a weekend morning than it is at WaterCourse. You can also get the restaurant's signature baked goods (including vegan Ho Ho-style cupcakes) at City, O' City, and it offers an espresso bar as well. Visit www.cityocitydenver.com to peruse the rest of the menu, including the beer and wine list.