Boulder is a town where it's reasonable to expect a lot from its eateries -- especially if you're a vegetarian or vegan. The college outpost has been hailed nationwide as a great place for food fans, and with all the hippies and alternative-lifestyle types, it's a given that any restaurant will have at least one vegetarian-friendly plate on the menu. But Half Fast Subs, located on the Hill within a stone's throw of the University of Colorado campus, takes its obligation to the plant-based community to a whole new level with its staggering menu.
The jam bands playing on the speakers and the variety of alcoholic beverages available (not just beer and wine, but margaritas and Long Island iced teas) are exactly what you'd expect at a Boulder-on-the-Hill sandwich shop. At 4 p.m. on a weekday, the dinner rush has yet to pick up, and only a few diners are watching whatever sports are dominating the handful of televisions mounted on the walls. A much more interesting view is the menu, which is colossal if you eat meat (there are ten kinds of cheesesteaks alone -- and you can choose chicken, steak or tempeh, so even some of those are veggie-friendly, too), and large enough to satisfy the pickiest diner if you don't.
The tempeh reuben is pictured above; Half Fast uses local purveyor WhiteWave's tempeh for a product that's got great texture and phenomenal taste. It's baked and served on your choice of bread -- French, wheat or white, which is a bit softer than the French -- along with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing. The baguette-style French bread has the ideal outer crustiness and inner chewiness. The sandwich is served up hot, with the sour tang of the 'kraut and soft meltiness of the Swiss cheese combining with the tempeh, bread and dressing to create one of the best tempeh reubens we've ever tasted.
Other offerings on the menu include a veggie grinder, a barbecue veggie sandwich, an eggplant parmesan selection, baked tofu, a vegetarian sloppy joe and many more. There are 24 vegetarian-specific sandwiches on the menu in all, and you can also tweak any meat-bearing sandwiches to your vegetarian or vegan specifications.
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Half Fast Subs is open for lunch and dinner nightly (and many nights till 1 a.m.); call 303-449-0404 or visit halffastsubs.com.