It's no secret that Denver loves Chipotle, our hometown hero achieving world domination in the mission-style burrito restaurant chain universe. But the rest of the country loves Chipotle, too -- including the youngsters who voted in peta2's fifth annual Libby Awards to give Chipotle the honor of being named the Most Vegan-Friendly Restaurant Chain.
Rachel Owen, the senior street team coordinator of peta2, explains that the name Libby refers to liberation, and peta2 is the youth division of PETA, "geared more toward high-school and college-aged kids."
The press release sent out this morning describes two Chipotle options that are, sadly, only available in select markets (at the moment, that would be New York, D.C. and Los Angeles): a meatless Garden Blend burrito filling made from soy and vegetable filling and flavored with adobo marinade, and the brand-new Chik'n Sandwich from vegan company Gardein (whose products you can find in many natural-food stores in the region). But, Owen notes, you can still get a great vegan (or vegetarian) meal at Chipotle even without the meat substitutes.
"Chipotle's actually one of my favorite places to eat," she reveals, "because their tortillas, rice, black beans, salsa and guacamole are all vegan."
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Some of the contenders Chipotle beat out were California Pizza Kitchen, Starbucks -- "which is offering a dairy-free Frappucino made with soy milk," Owen notes -- and Z Pizza, which has vegan cheese and a vegan sausage substitute for pie lovers.
Hopefully the meat substitutes at Chipotle will be a hit in test markets so we can taste it in all of Denver soon -- as you might have read, Kyle Smith got a chance to taste the Gardein blend at the Alameda Avenue and Logan Street location about a month ago.
Learn more about the Libby Awards and peta2 at www.peta2.com.