Beyond the Beef? Colorado’s Vegan Taste Test at Famous Dave’s BBQ

Colorado just continues to get greener and greener by the day and we aren’t making a lackluster funny in reference to the coming season, the budding marijuana businesses or of the recycling conscious variety. Over the course of the past year we are becoming more and more attuned to the interest restaurants are placing on the vegan conscious progression with many spots offering dining options to suit every lifestyle choice or dietary need that pulls up to the table.

So, you can imagine our reaction when Famous Dave’s BBQ reached out to ask us to taste its new Beyond Meat dishes that the butcher block focused establishments are methodically testing out exclusively in our Centennial State.

“We decided that our company should get into the plant based food business because of the popularity, and we felt that Colorado Springs was a great market for us to try it,” says Louis Gray, Famous Dave’s area director for Colorado. “We are definitely pro-meat but, we were excited to see if it would work in this area and, it’s been successful.”

The new dishes showcase Beyond Meat products in varying presentations and began gracing the menu in mid-September of 2019. Gray confirms that they continue to sell “at least a handful of items per day,” making it a favorable addition that is supposedly here to stay. The current lineup of meat free options includes the Beyond Meat Burger, a pea based burger that legitimately tastes like the real deal–topped with hearty grilled slices of pineapple and Famous Dave’s gluten-friendly bbq sauce; Beyond Bratwurst, which falls a bit short but is still a valiant effort to recreate the salty and earthy pork flavor (although not nearly enough to make us switch teams); Beyond Tacos, a trio of flour tortillas that holds ground Beyond Meat, your typical taco veg (iceberg lettuce and diced tomatoes) and sprinkled with Fritos for a welcome crunch factor.

Then, our personal favorites, the Beyond bowls: the Frito Bowl (also gluten-free) arrives like a layered salad with lettuce, pico de gallo, cilantro and a solid base of the textural, curved corn chips, that we boldly admit we love, and the Beyond Meat Bowl–chunky bits nestled on a bed of zesty lime rice with vegetarian beans, lettuce, cilantro, pico, raw sliced jalapeños and lime.

All the dishes are simple yet quite tasty and hold true to the concept of what a bbq joint should be, offering homey comfort food in a casual and affordable setting.

“I’ve never had Beyond Meat or any vegetarian products and it’s an eye opener,” says Sandy Urgillez, general manager of the Famous Dave’s Colorado Springs location. “You can’t even tell it’s not meat.”

Although we are not opting to change our personal preferences on such a dramatic level as to ditch the animal proteins entirely, we find a progressiveness in the decision to add Beyond Meat products to the menu that is both unexpected for the national restaurant group and also very promising. Famous Dave’s commits to permanently add the Beyond Bowl and the Beyond Burger as of February 2020, while the other menu items are TBD based on customer feedback and satisfaction.

“Colorado is the kind of state where there are lots of different kinds of concepts, lifestyles, ways of thinking so we thought it’d be a great state to give it a shot,” says Gray. “The diversity and the knowledge is exciting. There are a lot of people consciously changing their dietary needs and we felt Colorado as a whole was a great area to try it out.”


All images courtesy of Famous Daves BBQ