A day of plant-based meals in Breckenridge
If you’re looking to grab a bite to eat that’s a little on the healthier side, look no further.
It wasn’t too long ago when there were only a few local options for vegan and vegetarian menus. But as the community has evolved, so too has its dining scene. Now, there are plenty of restaurants, cafes and eateries that offer delicious meat-free bites that are chock full of nutrients. In Breckenridge, a diner looking for a day of meat-free meals can enjoy eating at local restaurants without ever having to leave town, though there are plenty more options around Summit County as well.
For breakfast: Semplice Cafè
209 N. Main St., Breckenridge; 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays through Fridays, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays; 970-423-6407; SempliceCafe.com
Start your day out with Semplice Cafè. Semplice translates to “simple” in Italian and that’s just what owners and Breckenridge residents Michelle Mahoney and Jamie Fletcher were going for when they opened it up in January 2020.
When Mahoney moved to Breckenridge in 2016, she realized that there were few options for vegetarian food. Mahoney is a vegetarian, and Fletcher is a pescatarian. At the time, there weren’t many restaurant options for the two to enjoy a meal together.
When the duo opened their cafe, they wanted it to be a spot that offered grab-and-go meals for people preparing for an active day in the area.
“There’s a couple places that you can sit down and have a vegan meal, but ours is primarily all to-go (options),” Mahoney said. “It didn’t start off that way, but with (COVID-19) it turned into grab-and-go stuff. Jamie’s really into mountain biking. I’m really into trail running. So our whole concept was simple: clean food that you can eat to fuel your body to do activities throughout the day and/or bring something with you and be able to eat it on a trail and finish your workout or whatever outside.”
Mahoney said her favorite breakfast item on the menu is the Can’t Even Vegan breakfast burrito, made with house-made Sriracha, tofu, sweet potatoes, spinach, quinoa, maple syrup and black beans. The burrito was a happy accident Fletcher created on a whim once.
Fletcher said his favorite is the Jamal breakfast burrito, which was his nickname in high school. The burrito is packed with eggs, goat cheese, arugula, black beans, sweet potatoes and maple Sriracha.
In addition to the breakfast burritos, the cafe offers breakfast paninis, lunch paninis, toasts, smoothies and salads. Most menu items range from $8 to $14.
For lunch: Amazing Grace
213 Lincoln Ave., Breckenridge; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily; 970-453-1445; AmazingGraceBreckenridge.com
Owner Monique Merrill likes to think of Amazing Grace as being community-driven. Its lunch menu has a variety of sandwiches and salads, some of which were the brainchildren of Amazing Grace’s longtime employees.
Before Amazing Grace turned into a cafe, it was a health food store. Merrill had been an employee at the shop until she bought it in 2022. Eventually, her friends encouraged her to transform the store into a coffee shop that focused on a healthy menu “with ingredients that you can pronounce and spell,” she said. One of those friends helped create the menu and still works at the cafe.
Merrill said one of the most popular menu items is the spicy tofu, made with tahini, soy sauce, cumin, cayenne and curry. The tofu is piled on a sandwich with greens, tomatoes, shredded carrots and zucchini and served with a side of tortilla chips. The spicy tofu also comes in a breakfast burrito and a salad.
Another popular lunch item is the famous veggie deluxe, which is made with cheddar cheese, shredded carrots, zucchini, avocado, greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and mustard. It’s also served with a side of tortilla chips.
Merrill recommends patrons grab one of their vegan cookies on the way out.
“What made us popular is our vegan cookies, which have been a staple here for 20 years,” she said.
Most menu items range between $13 and $15.
For dinner: Piante Pizzeria
520 S. Main St., Breckenridge; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily; 970-423-6693; PiantePizzeria.com
After a full day on the mountain, settle in with a comforting evening meal at Piante Pizzeria.
Co-owner Twee Merrigan said she wanted the vibe to be more like eating a meal at a close friend’s home rather than a restaurant. The restaurant has an open kitchen with a wood-fired oven, and all the ingredients on the menu are 100% plant-based. Even the “meat” toppings on the menu are made with wheat, soy and pea proteins, and mushrooms depending on the item. The menu also indicates which menu items contain gluten, nuts and soy.
Merrigan said one of the most popular menu items is the “spicy and rich” El Jefe pizza made with spicy Oaxacan wood-fired salsa, lemon aioli, mozzarella, shiitake bacon, Italian sausage, pepperoni, green bell peppers and white mushrooms.
She also recommended the Buffalo Soldier pizza paired with the cranberry walnut salad. The pizza is made with buffalo sauce, mozzarella, buffalo cauliflower, red onion, green onion and ranch.
Those in need of a smaller bite to eat may also be interested in the restaurant’s pizza rolls. Merrigan described them as a “jumbo hot pocket,” and they’re served with a side of Brussels sprouts slaw. Pizza roll options include cheesesteak, barbecue and Buffalo Solider.
Most menu items range from $9 to $26.
For a snack: Pure Kitchen
116 Basecamp Way, Frisco; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily; 970-455-1330; Pure.kitchen
If you’re looking to grab a small bite to eat in between activities just outside of Breckenridge, then look no further than Pure Kitchen, just a little north of town.
Like many of the other vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants in Summit County, general manager Niall Jensen said his vision for Pure Kitchen was to make as much of the menu in-house with as many fresh, whole ingredients as possible.
“My personal philosophy is to just get nutrient-dense foods either into dishes we already have or recipes that are already on the menu or recipes people already know, something familiar,” he said.
Jensen said that for those doing any kind of physical activity, the best snack on their menu is the cauliflower pesto hummus. It’s larger than some of the other appetizers and a bit more hearty. Jensen said his team added extra carbs and fiber by combining the cauliflower with the chickpeas to “bring in more nutrients into something people already know.”
The dish is served with grilled naan bread, garbanzo beans, smoked paprika, organic activated charcoal and veggies for $14.
Other popular snacks at Pure Kitchen include the crispy Brussels sprouts — served with raspberry vinegar and homemade apricot chipotle jam — and the gluten-free mozzarella sticks, which are breaded by hand and served with house-flavored mozzarella, house-made batter, gluten-free panko breadcrumbs and house-made marinara.
Most of the appetizers range from $12 to $14.
Here are a few other vegetarian or vegan dishes that are served across Summit County:
- Eclectic Bar & Grill
501 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne; 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m daily.; 970-368-6549; EclecticBarandGrill.com
The restaurant offers a vegan almond ginger bowl served with zucchini noodles, ginger and almond sauce, carrots, bell peppers, cauliflower and broccoli.
- Castaways Cove
100 S. Park Ave., Unit C102, Breckenridge; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily; 970-453-3929; CastawaysBreck.com
The tiki-styled location sells a tofu bowl with teriyaki, white rice and organic quinoa.
- Empire Burger
500 S. Main St., Breckenridge; 970-453-2329; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily; EmpireBurger.com
The popular spot has its own version of an Impossible Burger. The restaurant also has some vegetarian-friendly appetizers, including fried mushrooms and fried zucchini chips.
This story was originally published in the Summer 2023 edition of Explore Summit magazine.
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