Native Coloradan Sarah Eastin is a plant-based chef, consultant and animal activist who is ready to turn omnivore Denver restaurants into vegan hot spots — even if only for one night.
Eastin has teamed up with Veganizer, a plant-based food consulting and marketing agency that partners with omnivore restaurants to expand vegan offerings. The company has launched initiatives in New York City, Boston, Phoenix and Portland, Oregon, with great success and is now taking aim at the Mile High City.
The chef says she's confident the project will be well received in Denver. “So many people in Denver recognize the value of a plant-based lifestyle,” she notes.
The concept is similar to a pop-up restaurant, utilizing the kitchen and dining room of a different eatery for each event. “We take a restaurant, turn it vegan for a night or a few hours, and pack the house for a super-fun event,” Eastin explains. “It's really a win-win. The restaurant is happy — and the community loves it, too.”
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Veganinzer plans to put on six Denver events this year; the first is a brunch at Choice Market, an independently owned convenience store at 1770 Broadway that focuses on local products and fresh-made foods. Brunch will be served on Saturday, February 2, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with Beyond Meat meatball sandwiches topped with vegan ricotta and basil pesto, and barbecue jackfruit with green chile mac and cheese and mustard slaw. Non-vegan items from Choice Market's regular menu will be available, and vendors who work with Choice Market will also be giving out samples. Advance Eventbrite tickets, $5 each, are required to secure a spot, and then food can be purchased separately once you arrive. A portion of ticket sales will be donated to an animal rescue organization.
Choice Market was already on Eastin's radar because the shop serves a variety of vegan options every day. Some of the market's meat- and dairy-free options include jackfruit tortas with chipotle mayo, beet Reubens, tofu bibimbap bowls, Beyond Meat burgers with Thousand Island dressing, and breakfast burritos with tofu scramble, house veggie green chile, roasted potato, vegan mozzarella and refried black beans.
Eastin's future plans include themed nights around tacos, pizza, burger battles and a variety of ethnic cuisines. For restaurants interested in participating, email the chef at firstname.lastname@example.org. For those looking to keep tabs on upcoming vegan events, follow Veganizer Denver on Instagram and visit the website.