Lacuna Combines Yoga With Plant-Based Food From Chef Carrie Shores

Lacuna's plant-based menu is available for breakfast and lunch.
Lacuna's plant-based menu is available for breakfast and lunch. Mark Antonation
Adaptogens, antioxidants, superfoods: They can all be intimidating if you're not up on the latest health and nutrition terminology. But tasty, comforting and filling are things we can all get on board with. If you're just starting to explore plant-based eating, you could do worse than put yourself in the hands of a chef with years of fine-dining experience. That's what you'll get at Lacuna, a yoga studio, juice bar and cafe at 2590 Lawrence Street.

Megan Whiteside and Trent DeMichele opened Lacuna with the goal of combining Whiteside's yoga expertise with a juice bar. DeMichele thought a full breakfast and lunch menu would add to the health and nutrition needs of their yoga customers. The couple was already friends with chef Carrie Shores, who had headed the culinary program at Work Options for Women and was executive chef at Table 6 before that. Shores says she's been following a plant-based diet for the past three years, and she welcomed the opportunity to create the same kind of food professionally.

click to enlarge Avocado toast with coconut-milk feta. - MARK ANTONATION
Avocado toast with coconut-milk feta.
Mark Antonation
click to enlarge Juices come in colors named after gemstones. - MARK ANTONATION
Juices come in colors named after gemstones.
Mark Antonation
"It's all about balance and the ability to order healthy food after a workout," Whiteside explains.

Shores adds that everything on her menu is organic and free of meat, eggs and dairy, and that most of it is naturally gluten-free or can be ordered gluten-free on request. In addition to the food menu, the chef worked with Whiteside and DeMichele to perfect the ten juice recipes Lacuna offers, all named for gemstones.

So you can get your nutrients in liquid form with the Sapphire (tinted blue with Blue Majik spirulina extract), the Garnet (made with more than a dozen vegetables and fruit), or the Onyx (which combines ginger, lemon, lavender, honey and activated charcoal). Nut milks, smoothie bowls and steamed beverages are also available, many boosted with ingredients intended to help your immune system, cognitive functions and overall health.

But even if you're not into yoga or cold-pressed juice, Lacuna is worth a stop for a chilled noodle salad loaded with avocado, mango, fennel, cabbage, sesame seeds and matcha vinaigrette — a satisfying bowl with hints of Asian flavor. Curry soup, thick enough to be called a stew, includes seasonal veggies, sprouted grains and almond cream.

click to enlarge A coconut latte topped with Blue Majik spirulina extract. - MARK ANTONATION
A coconut latte topped with Blue Majik spirulina extract.
Mark Antonation
click to enlarge Lacuna's chilled noodle salad. - MARK ANTONATION
Lacuna's chilled noodle salad.
Mark Antonation
Shores makes cashew milk, almond milk and oat milk in-house, and uses the pulp left over from pressing juices to add flavor to many of her dishes. She also makes gluten-free buckwheat bread with nothing more than whole buckwheat that's been soaked, ground and baked in a loaf pan with a little salt. Try it in the avocado toast (which otherwise comes on sprouted-wheat bread) with coconut-milk feta, or with apple butter and housemade jam. Salads made with greens grown at Altius Farm next door round out the menu.

Whiteside and DeMichele agree that you don't need to be vegan to enjoy an occasional plant-based meal, and explain that many of their customers are just looking for light and healthy options, especially during the holidays, when overindulgence is almost guaranteed.

Lacuna's cafe is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Call 720-899-5644 or visit the Lacuna website for more details.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation