Alternative Eats: Gluten-Free & Vegan Finds
Words by Julie Martin Sunich
Dining out is supposed to be enjoyable — maybe even a little adventurous. But, when adventure turns into a gastronomical search and rescue, it can dampen even the sunniest of Colorado days. Whether you are visiting the Pikes Peak region from near or far, we understand the challenges of navigating specific dietary needs in unknown territory. Luckily, we can point you in the right direction.
Here’s our edible collection of gluten-free, vegan, and just plain great food in the region.
MANITOU SPRINGS – Adam’s Mountain Café • 26 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs • adamsmountaincafe.com
Vegetarian, Vegan, and Gluten-Free Options
Even for year-round residents, it’s hard to resist this welcoming bar and eatery. A longstanding Manitou Springs staple, Adam’s Mountain Café delivers slow food principles in a cozy roadside location with come hither views of Pikes Peak. Revered by locals for its consistently innovative take on vegan fare and organic ingredients, it is the perfect après-hike antidote for wherever your feet take you. Eye-opening breakfast entrees include vegan huevos rancheros with New Mexican green chili as well as borracho bean and Spanish rice breakfast bowls, topped with spiced pepitas and sesame-crusted tofu. Lunch and dinner are equally resplendent with a bounty of organic, locally sourced ingredients fused in innovative ways — smoked salmon enchiladas, roasted butternut squash crepes, and a dreamy Asiago-rich mac and cheese in an indulgent sauce of white cheddar and Gruyere.
SOUTHWEST COLORADO SPRINGS – The Burrowing Owl • 1791 S. 8th St., Colorado Springs • burrowingowllounge.com
Vegan with Gluten-Free Options
This woodsy-chic kitchen is a neighborhood gathering spot for vegans-in-the-know. Tucked into a corner-side shopping center, The Burrowing Owl offers an eclectic social scene with a rustic vibe as well as an outstanding selection of craft beer and gluten-free ciders. The bar menu is both witty and expansive, listing over 93 canned beers, and the cocktails are served homestyle in kitschy canning jars. The menu is overflowing with variations of meatless tacos, burritos, tostadas, and nachos, not to mention soup and a slew of sloppy sandwiches. This place can also happily accommodate and even fool non-vegans (we know of a carnivore who ate here regularly for over two years before he discovered that it was vegan). As an added bonus, The Owl sells an assortment of fun merchandise, namely t-shirts, hats, stickers, and koozies.
OLD COLORADO CITY & WESTSIDE – TAPAteria • 2607 W. Colorado Ave., Colorado Springs • tapateria.com
Gluten-Free with Vegan Options
TAPAteria is Old Colorado City’s nod to Barcelona. This Spanish gem shines with an assortment of small plates that could tempt urban diners to fandango. Don’t be misled by the name; TAPAteria is nothing like a cafeteria. Instead, its welcoming ambiance is captured inside a historic 1899 building with a pet-friendly garden patio. The extensive menu includes both hot and cold gluten-free and vegan tapas (think hummus and olives), in addition to the traditional Mediterranean bites of chorizo, lamb sausage, sea-worthy shrimp, octopus, and wild sockeye salmon. Pair any choice with TAPAteria’s wine list which features 36 wines, sherries, and ports. If you happen to be in town between April and October, keep an eye out for their “Paella on the Patio,” an event that takes place one Sunday each month. The paella, an authentic Valencian rice dish, varies from month to month, featuring local growers as well as imported and local meats.
OLD COLORADO CITY & WESTSIDE – Monse’s Pupuseria • 115 S. 25th St., Colorado Springs • monsestasteofelsalvador.online
Gluten-Free with Vegan Options
Since opening her Salvadoran restaurant over a year ago, owner Monse Hines has become the queen of Latin American comfort food. She embraces her native country’s national dish — the pupusa — and proudly serves it up to Colorado Springs. Not quite a taco and not necessarily a quesadilla, this thick, doughy pocket delights taste buds with a variety of delicious fillings including Pueblo chiles and pinto beans, enhanced with the unique, somewhat nutty seasoning of Central America’s indigenous loroco flower.
OLD COLORADO CITY & WESTSIDE – Sweet Elizabeth’s Organics • 1625 W. Uintah St., Colorado Springs • sweetelizabethsorganics.com
Vegan, Soy-Free, and Gluten-Free
Looking for a safe place to eat? Drop by Sweet Elizabeth’s Organics Bakery and Café, where they take your dietary needs to heart. What initially began as owner Elizabeth Durham’s challenge to create a gluten-free coffeecake for her 10-year-old daughter has blossomed into a delightful shop, known for its allergy-friendly baked offerings. Since moving into a bigger space in the fall of 2018, Sweet Elizabeth’s now offers breakfast (waffles, anyone?) and lunch: savory soups, delectable sandwiches, and a build-your-own salad bar all supply a healthy midday boost. For the young (or not-so-young) picky eaters in your group, kid-friendly personal pizzas are also available.
DOWNTOWN COLORADO SPRINGS – Coquette’s Bistro & Bakery • 616 S. Tejon St., Colorado Springs • coquettesbistro.com
Gluten-Free and Soy-Free with Dairy-Free and Vegan Options
Coquette’s Bistro & Bakery is the home plate for gluten-free fare in Colorado Springs. Aside from its renowned bakery bread and confections (sold in-house and exported to the finest menus all over town), this family-run establishment proudly offers “boldly luscious comfort food” to its customers. Warm up by the fireplace in the inviting dining area, chill in the bar lounge, or take in the fresh summer breeze on the patio. Make some time to contemplate their extensive menus, which include crepes, sandwiches, and made-from-scratch pot pies.
DOWNTOWN COLORADO SPRINGS – Nourish Organic Juice • 303 E. Pikes Peak Ave., Colorado Springs • nourishorganicjuice.com
Vegan and Gluten-Free
For those who seek solace in fulfilling their daily vitamin intake, Nourish Organic Juice is a downtown juice-bar paradise offering cleanses and fresh products. Their menu features spoon-thick smoothies and vibrant acai bowls, as well as hydraulically cold-pressed juices, guaranteeing a mega dose of nutrients in every sip. Nourish’s menu also offers rice noodle bowls, salads, and standout soups. Whether you need uptime or downtime, Nourish has the perfect antidote to set you off on your next adventure.
BUENA VISTA – Eddyline • Restaurant at South Main 926 S. Main St., Buena Vista • eddylinerestaurant.com • Brewery and Taproom • 102 Linderman Ave., Buena Vista • eddylinebrewing.com
Gluten-Free and Vegan Options
Near the banks of Colorado’s adventure-rich Arkansas River, Eddyline is a river rat’s oasis. Both a brewery and a pub-style restaurant in two separate Buena Vista locations, the concept is the same; supportive farm-to-table community fare. Its self-proclaimed mantra of “Food for Any Appetite” includes menu items for visitors who seek vegan or gluten-free alternatives, and even some for the wild game aficionados. At the top of the list are Eddyline’s pecan wood-fired brick oven hand-tossed pizzas and calzones, which can be prepared with glutenfree crust. Quinoa bowls, beet and kale salads, and MSG-free soups are featured daily. Thirsty? Eddyline has you covered. Its brewery handcrafts a line of seasonal beers with names like Summer in the Citra, Grapefruit Yanker, and Pumpkin Patch Ale. Spicy nonalcoholic ginger and creamy root beers are also made on the premises.