Vegan Road Trip: Colorado Springs Surprises With Plant-Based Options

Moxie is a draw for vegans in Colorado Springs.EXPAND
Moxie is a draw for vegans in Colorado Springs.
Kristen Kuchar
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Summer in Colorado often means venturing out and exploring this beautiful state. While you’re a pro at navigating restaurants in Denver for vegan options, it can get a little tricky on the road. We'll be searching out plant-based dining throughout Colorado this summer in our vegan road trip series.

Next up: we’re taking a short jaunt south to Colorado Springs, home of Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak and the Broadmoor Hotel. But it's also home to several restaurants that are turning the town into a vegan destination.

Moxie (925 South Eighth Street, 719-465-3595) is a new plant-based spot with craft cocktails and an innovative menu. Start with small plates — fried pickles, white-bean hummus, smoked red-pepper bisque and salads. For entrees, potato pierogi are topped with caramelized onions, smoked lemon and garlic cream. Other options include polenta, tofu banh mi, a quinoa bowl, and fettuccine with sun-dried-tomato pesto. Don’t miss desserts that are usually hard to find dairy-free, including ice cream, mocha crème brûlée and a key lime torte.

The key lime torte at Moxie.EXPAND
The key lime torte at Moxie.
Kristen Kuchar

If you’re looking for unusual beers to go with vegan food, look no further than Trinity Brewing (1446 Garden of the Gods Road, 719-634-0029). While the menu isn't meatless, it's loaded with vegan and vegetarian pub food that goes great with the sour and funky beers made in-house. Kick it off with vegan seitan wings with hot or sweet-and-spicy sauce, pickled Brussels sprouts, and corn dogs served with a variety of dipping sauces, including beer mustard, vegan ranch or curry ketchup. The pulled “pork” sammy is shredded jackfruit smothered in a tangy and sweet barbecue sauce and topped with cabbage slaw. Beyond Beef is the burger option, and for a super-healthy option, the garden sandwich is a hoagie loaded with spinach, cucumber, avocado, red onion, roasted red peppers and hummus.

For another stellar beer list, visit The Burrowing Owl (1791 South Eighth Street, 719-434-3864). As far as the menu goes, there’s a little bit of everything, from sushi and sandwiches to chimichangas and tacos — and everything is 100 percent vegan. The spicy mac and cheese is mixed with green chile, jalapeños and jalapeño sauce. Keep a napkin handy for a meatless twist on a childhood favorite, the sloppy Joe. The Owl serves several versions, starting with a house sloppy Joe mix topped with queso, beans and red onion.

When you’re just driving through, swing by Santana’s Vegan Grill (5046 North Academy Boulevard, 719-271-9113), the only completely vegan drive-thru in the city (and probably the entire state). The simple no-frills menu is exactly what you’d expect from a fast-food spot. The Deluxe burger can be made into a cheeseburger or bacon cheeseburger (both meat- and dairy-free). Other sandwiches include hot dogs, a sausage and cheese sandwich, and a meatball and mozzarella sub — or opt for chicken strips, with or without Buffalo sauce. Complete your order with fries, chocolate chip cookies and lemonade.

For a city of its size, Colorado Springs has a surprising number of vegan-friendly options — and it's just over an hour away.

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