Colfax & Downing

Everything you need to know about the Mile High City

Category: Vegan


For all its population growth and influx of restaurants and eateries popping up on every imaginable corner, Denver just doesn’t keep pace with vegan dining options compared to other major cities. That’s not to say there aren’t a handful of great places to tuck into a vegan meal but it’s not yet the plant-based mecca that I long for it to become.

Enter Sputnik!

This little dive bar with its unassuming facade on Broadway and Ellsworth serves up cheap beer and comfort food for omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans. Adding to its hipster points, right next door is the very popular Hi-Dive, an indie music venue. The service is friendly with no nonsense. Every server or bartender we have ever encountered here has thoroughly mussed hair, tattoos in places that were probably painful, a T-shirt you’re not certain is ironic or not, and a quick hand with the coffee refills.

You can’t really ask for anything more.


One of the last times we had brunch here, Drew enjoyed pork ramen off the lunch menu and I ordered a tofu scramble. Also delicious and available all day: the zucchini dog, the restaurant’s surprisingly satisfying take on a corn dog. Drew is a card-carrying steak and potatoes kind of dude and even he can’t recommend the zucchini dogs vigorously enough.

Coffee in an authentic Taz mug from the 90s? Don’t mind if I do.

Despite its humble appearance, Sputnik delivers. I don’t recommend bringing your parents here but if your much cooler, slightly older cousins from Brooklyn come to the Mile High City to visit, they will be impressed. I speak from experience.

From 3 to 7 p.m., the happy hour menu features a variety of beers and small bites ranging from $2 to $6.

To summarize: affordable, tasty food! Cold, cheap beer! Vegan friendly! Warm service! Vinyl booths! Christmas lights!

Sputnik is everywhere you might expect to find a Denver establishment on social media (except Twitter, apparently).

In other news, we’re sorry for neglecting the blog. Sometimes life happens more quickly than we can jot it down. Because you continue to read and stick by us, know that we love you more than is comfortable for you.

Colfax and Downing Bye For Now

Handy Diner

Handy Diner’s owner, Teri Font, endeared herself to me the very moment I read the following sound bite in BusinessDen:

When my mom found out I bought a diner, she called me and drove out immediately (from Iowa) to see what I was doing. I think she thought I was having a manic episode or something. But once she saw the place, she got it.

That level of candid self deprecation mixed with a brand new diner in Five Points that features vegan fare exclusively? I’m sold.

Handy Diner Building

Formerly known to the neighborhood as the D-Line restaurant, the space is very small and unassuming. Because the diner atmosphere is so understated, the focus here is on the food alone. A shy server brought us waters, coffees and menus. Drew ordered a burger and I had the country fried chickpea steak with glazed yams. My order was inspired by the multiple Facebook reviews raving about it and I was not led astray. Drew’s review of his plate: no nonsense, a classic burger with no frills. His favorite part: the mashed potatoes. I’m still dreaming about it and words won’t do justice to the savory nature of that breakfast.
Handy Diner Burger

Rarely do I delve into why I was a vegetarian for more than a decade nor the reasons I transitioned to a fully vegan lifestyle last fall. Generally speaking, meat and dairy eaters find those kinds of monologue to be a judgmental buzzkill and this blog is meant to celebrate all things Denver. What I will say is that it’s next to never that:

  1. I can order any and everything off the menu
  2. Dine at a restaurant and not feel like an asshole when I have to ask for exceptions
  3. A vegan menu is so inventive and soul-nourishing good.

For these reasons, Handy Diner is a breath of fresh air.
Handy Diner YamsNo animals harmed! If you have a single iota of interest in vegan food, ride the Light Rail to the 30th and Downing stop and walk across the street. No meal exceeds $10 and everything is stick-to-your-ribs hearty. You will not be disappointed.

We’re wishing Teri and her crew all the success in the world.

Colfax and Downing Bye For Now

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