The Garden blooms with delicious vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free food

The concept behind The Garden, which recently sprouted in the former Kate's at 35th Avenue spot, is deceptively simple: seasonal dishes -- including raw, vegan, gluten-free and nut-free fare, as well as entrees with consciously sourced meat and dairy -- served at brunch, and brunch only. Some of that concept may sound a little overused, with seemingly every restaurant claiming to do the seasonal-local thing these days. But at the Garden, those claims have grown into a truly lovely spot.

Had the rain not been falling Saturday, the patio outside this Victorian house in north Park Hill would no doubt have attracted groups of Bloody Mary-sipping brunchers. Instead, diners were seated inside, spaced around two large, carpeted dining rooms that are both elegant and homey, filled with hushed jazz music and soft chairs.

Pictured above is the green chile casserole, a vegan, gluten-free and nut-free dish made with green chiles, quinoa, black beans and spices, served with chips and salsa and a fresh salad with balsamic vinaigrette. The casseroles are fresh-baked to order, and it came out hot with a mild crunch to the quinoa, perfect for chasing away the weather on a rainy day.

The Garden's Bloody Mary is a good one, with fresh, deliciously spicy tomato juice that's seasoned in-house. The Garden also has fresh lemonade that can be infused with different flavors and enhanced with vodka. The soup of the day was a savory, well-balanced white bean-and-millet concoction with celery and carrots.

The Garden is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday only; for more information, call 303-321-5231 or visit http://thegarden-parkhill.com.

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