Blue Sky Cafe is a west suburbs breakfast haven for veggie lovers

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Although Denver is a vegetarian-friendly place, it's not always easy to find a decent meat-free breakfast. And as difficult as it can be for vegetarians to scrounge up a place that serves meat substitutes, vegans have it even worse: Just try finding an egg-, dairy- and meat-free breakfast anywhere other than WaterCourse. And the wait for a table during the Sunday breakfast rush there can be a killer.

Which is why Blue Sky Cafe and Juice Bar, at 14403 West Colfax Avenue in Lakewood's Denver West Village, is such a breath of fresh air.

Given Blue Sky's unusual, dual role, it makes a lot of sense that this kitchen caters to the animal-loving side of the community. The restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily -- and after the kitchen shuts down, the tables in the dining room are pushed to the walls, leaving an expanse of hardwood floor beneath a beautifully painted blue-sky ceiling. That's when Blue Sky Cafe transforms into Blue Sky Yoga, a donation-based, non-profit studio. The cafe helps to support the studio, and donated class fees go to the instructors' wages; any extra money that comes in is distributed to various non-profits (this month, it's the Seva Foundation).

You can't eat good intentions, though -- so it's fortunate that the food at Blue Sky is pretty good, with options for vegetarians, vegans and meat-lovers alike.

Pictured above is the Santa Fe Huevos, $8.99: flour tortillas, spicy black beans, basted eggs, chili verde, cheddar-jack cheese, roasted red pepper, caramelized onions, sour cream and chives, served with home fries on the side. For some extra protein and flavor, Morningstar's vegetarian sausage has been added to the skillet ($.99). Vegans can lose the sour cream and cheese and replace the basted eggs with tofu for no additional charge.

That's another benefit to the Blue Sky Cafe: Substitutions, omissions and additions are always possible, which opens up the menu for those with special dietary needs. Any questions are promptly -- and correctly -- answered by Blue Sky's pleasant and knowledgeable staff. For vegans who don't want to play with their food, there's a Vegan Tofu Veggie Scramble; the menu also includes several gluten-free dishes, and all the housemade sauces, soups and dressings are also gluten-free. And for those who eat meat, all the options are natural and preservative-free; Blue Sky also uses only healthy fats in its cooking -- none of that hydrogenated crap.

Blue Sky also has a full coffee and juice bar, which serves up smoothies, fresh juice, milkshakes and an array of tea and coffee drinks (including chai tea and steamed milk with a double shot of espresso, pictured, $5.49).

Blue Sky attracts a wide range of customers, and although it can be busy (especially on weekends), the waiting time is usually short -- especially when compared with some of the higher-profile breakfast options around town. The dining room is almost always filled with the dull roar of conversation -- and the sounds of contented diners, vegetarian or not.

Learn more by calling 303-216-2670 or visiting http://blueskycafe.biz.

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