Openings and Closings

Native Foods Cafe Scales Back Vegan Business in Denver With Two Closures

California-based vegan restaurant chain Native Foods Cafe opened five stores in the Denver-Boulder area over the past several years, but the expansion plan may have been too aggressive. The Lakewood branch closed last year, and now two more locations are gone: The Native Foods in the Denver Pavilions downtown and its sibling at 2023 South Colorado Boulevard have also shuttered.

With the advance guard already established in Boulder, Native Foods came to Glendale in 2013, serving its meatless menu at the CitySet development — and quickly garnering a Best of Denver award for Best Vegetarian Restaurant, a rarity for a chain restaurant. That location is still open.

The company's current contraction isn't limited to Colorado; Native Foods closed the last of three Washington, D.C.,-area stores in December.

Are there too few vegans in this otherwise health-crazed state to feed Native Foods? Or do plant-based eaters just prefer something a little more earthy and homegrown to satisfy their meatless munchies?
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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