​Colorado Springs kicks off Vegan Restaurant Week 2019 on Friday, November 1, World Vegan Day, with a full-on fiesta of plant-based dining in the Pikes Peak Region that includes over 25+ participating restaurants.

Although we eat ALL the things, we are more cognizant of restaurants choosing to slightly diversify their menus and provide more vegetarian/vegan options for a growing number of patrons who consciously opt to eat veg forward. To get all the deets on Vegan Restaurant Week, we catch up with J.L. Fields, vegan cook book author and culinary instructor, as well as some local resources bringing awareness to the importance of veganism, to discuss why even those of us who don’t subscribe to the lifestyle can benefit from expanding our foodie focus and incorporating a tad more greenery.

“Over the years Colorado Springs restaurants have added more and more vegan-friendly dishes to their permanent menus,” says Fields. “This special Vegan Restaurant Week is a way to thank them and promote their efforts, while also asking chefs to do something a little extra special.”

Left to right: Chef Mark Henry, owner of Rooster’s House of Ramen & Happy Belly Tacos, with J.L. Fields, vegan cook book author, culinary instructor & Vegan Restaurant Week organizer. PC: Colorado Springs Vegan Events

According to the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG), in the past 20 years, restaurants nationwide are capitalizing on the interest in veganism expanding from approximately 50 all-vegan restaurants to today’s number, which exceeds 660 eateries. Fields says that Vegan Restaurant Week in Colorado Springs, which began in 2017–consisting only of a handful of businesses, now boasts nearly 30 excited food & beverage establishments eager to play.

“We aren’t an exclusively vegan restaurant, but we make every single dish fresh to order in individual sauté pans so vegans can be confident that they get what they want to eat…and only what they want to eat,” says Rebecca Taraborelli, owner of Rasta Pasta. “Over half of our menu items can be made vegan and our world-famous garlic bread is always vegan.”

“One Love, One Pasta,” Jamaican-Italian fusion at Rasta Pasta. PC: Rasta Pasta

Although there are restaurants who dedicate their craft 100-percent to only what cometh from the earth herself, other notable spots clearly acknowledge the importance of creating menus that can accommodate such requests or feature intentional nods to hearty vegan/vegetarian dishes.

“We want our food and beer to be accessible to everyone,” says Carrie Simison, brand ambassador for Cerberus Brewing Company. “While we’re certainly not known as a vegan restaurant, we always have items on our menu that are easily tailored to vegans and we make sure to educate our staff on the options with every menu update.”

Something for everyone this week & next as Cerberus Brewing Co. drops their fall menu and it. looks. DIVINE. *We are always suckers for their nacho game. PC: Cerberus Brewing Co.

Participating Vegan Restaurant Week restaurants:

Whatever your flavor, we think this week deserves some recognition as the entire point of going out to eat is to do just that, get out– remove yourself from your comfort zone, explore, expand and experience plates that you have not tried before or that mainfest some excitement beyond your typical domestic routine of Sunday spaghetti and meatballs.

“This week is not just for plant-based diners,” says Fields. “This is a way for everyone to try something new and it just happens to be completely cholesterol-free and planet-friendly!”

Full vegan menu options and hours are available here.

*Header image courtesy of Colorado Springs Vegan Events