While a burger is a simple staple at your average American eateries, most burger lovers still have their own go-to spots when they’re craving a solid cheeseburger. But as a vegetarian or vegan, it can be challenging to find a veggie substitute that nails the essence of a good burger. Whether you’re a hardcore vegan or just want a meat substitute, here’s a list of the Denver spots to visit for a meatless burger.
Next Level Burger
Where: Where: 1605 East Evans Ave, Denver
Hours: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
The Lowdown: America’s first 100% plant-based burger joint, Next Level Burger isDenver’s newest vegan eatery. Next Level Burger serves an array of meatless burgers, as well as “chicken,” “fish” and “brats”, so whatever craving you have, they can meet it. They also ensure that all of their vegetables are Non-GMO and organic, reinforcing their commitment to sustainability. As someone who isn’t vegan, reading the menu still made my mouth water, specifically the Spicy Kraut Brat ($12.95). Next Level Burger‘s slogan is ‘burgers for a better world’, and with their use of natural foods and determination to pay their teams a living wage, they’re certainly leaving this world a little better than prior to opening. Stop by for a classic ChzBurger, or go crazy with a Beyond PB + JJ Bacon ChzBurger ($9.95).
Where: 837 East 17th Ave, Denver
Hours: Monday – Thursday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., and Friday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
The Lowdown: Watercourse Foods is a plant-based Denver staple. The restaurant’s name is inspired by the philosophy of taking the path of least harm — but the cruelty-free Classic Burger ($15) still kills it. Made from soy protein, veggies and sunflower seeds, it’s just one of the many veggie-friendly options on the menu, all of which are made from local ingredients. Since its first location opened in 1998, Watercourse has consistently prioritized its sustainable business practices and focused on its goal to create an inclusive environment regardless of who you are or what you eat.
City O’ City
Where: 206 East 13th Ave, Denver
Hours: 10 a.m. – 12 a.m.
The Lowdown: City O’ City is the sister-restaurant of Watercourse Foods, and both of the iconic veggie joints are must-visits in Denver. And just like Watercourse, City O’ City offers a sunflower seed blend veggie burger — and when you bite in you might even notice notes of walnut. Dubbed the City, O’ Burger ($14), it’s hearty without giving you the ‘too full’ feeling, a win-win in our book. But what makes City O’ City stand apart from other eateries is that there is something for everyone, no matter what. If you need a cocktail at 9 a.m. or a coffee at 9 p.m. City O’ City has you covered. This restaurant is community-centric which reflects through their use of local vendors. By utilizing the establishments around Denver, City O’ City generates success across a multitude of local businesses, all under one roof. And even though we’re really here to rave about their vegan burger, anything on City O’ City’s menu is sure to satisfy.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar
Where: 1747 Wynkoop Street, Denver
Hours: Monday through Thursday + Sunday 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m., and Friday to Saturday 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
The Lowdown: Conveniently located inside Denver’s iconic Union Station, Hopdoddy Burger Bar serves up good food, drinks and vibes. Located just a few blocks from Coors Field, the burger bar finds itself in the middle of a tourist hub, and is surrounded by many farmers’ markets throughout the year, ultimately radiating off the positive atmosphere all around. While Hopdoddy does have meat options, its veggie option doesn’t disappoint — the Beyond a Classic ($13.25) measures up to a classic burger, made with beyond meat and several toppings. They also serve the El Bandito Veggie Burger ($11.95), a black bean & corn patty topped with goat cheese, adding a funky vegetarian option to the mix.
5280 Burger Bar
Where: 500 16th Street Mall Suite 160, Denver
Hours: Monday – Thursday 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m., Friday – Saturday 11:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. and Sunday 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
The Lowdown: While not strictly vegan, 5280 Burger Bar in Denver serves up the Falafel Burger ($14.99), a black bean-quinoa-chickpea burger. And while some veggie burgers run the risk of lacking texture, 5280 Burger Bar fries its Falafel Bruger to crispy perfection and finishes it off with a smothering of homemade tzatziki sauce. And for those with a strict no-cruelty policy, subbing out the tzatziki will make the burger vegan friendly — and it’ll still be stacked with cucumber, tomato and lettuce. And if when you get there you decide you don’t want a burger after all, there are plenty of salads that serve as light bites or homemade ice creams for a sweet treat.