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Vegan buffets are happening experiment for area restaurants

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At least 60 people turned out for a vegan food buffet today at the popular Casa Alvarez restaurant in Boulder. According to sources at the Boulder and Beyond Vegan Meet-up Group, there was a waiting list to join the well-attended gathering. Vegan food options are making their way on to more and more restaurant menus as patrons seek healthier foods and also because more people are objecting to factory farm methods of raising animals that become food for humans.

No matter what peoples’ political position on veganism is, it seems that the Boulder food scene, which pulls patrons from Brighton, Denver and the north suburbs on a regular basis, it seems that vegan buffets are becoming a trend. The Casa Alvarez buffet is one of two vegan buffets hosted by Boulder restaurants this month.

On Friday, December 27 from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm, Jill’s Restaurant, the well-known venue that is anchored in the luxurious St Julien Hotel Spa will host a vegan buffet of its own. The event will be no small affair.

“After 6 months of discussion and encouragement, Jill's management has agreed to do a Vegan Friday lunch buffet every week!!” said Lisa Shapiro, co-organizer of the Boulder and Beyond Vegans. Shapiro is a well-known vegan activist in the area and owner of the brand marketing firm All Things Vegan.

Meanwhile, in Denver, Govinda’s Café continues to run its vegetarian buffet that has operated since the restaurant opened this past fall.

Vegan-friendly entrees continue to gain bigger followings in conventional restaurants in Metro Denver, including the Denver-based fast-food chain Chipotle, which added vegan entrees this fall. The popular pub Illegal Pete’s on Pearl Street in Boulder is said to have “decent vegetarian options at cheap prices”, according to the Vegetarian Resource Group in a review of metro area restaurants. These additions are more recent for Illegal Pete’s, while Casa Alvarez has offered veg-friendly food for a long time. The restaurant opened in Boulder in 1994.

“It’s been my Mexican go [restaurant of choice] for years,” said Shapiro.

About three percent of Americans identify themselves as vegans-people who consume no animal-based foods. The number of vegetarians-people who might eat dairy or eggs but no meat, is less clear. But the number of “veggie-curious” people is clearly growing. The Examiner attended three different meal gatherings in Metro Denver/Brighton in the past year which were hosted by are vegan groups, all of which were well-attended. Many participants said they were not vegan but wanted to learn more about the foods vegans eat and to try those foods for themselves.



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