Please note: This post is regularly updated to keep up with current vegan options at DIA. It was last updated in March 2014.
Because of its hub status and snowy location, I have spent many, many hours at the Denver Airport. Luckily, as far as airports go, it’s not a bad one for the vegan traveler. In addition to several stores where a person can amuse herself during an unexpected layover, there are also many vegan options for times when one’s travel rations have run out.
In case you should ever find yourself in a similar situation to my husband, who was stuck at the Denver Airport for two days in March, here’s a list of your vegan options and where you can find them. (As always, check with your server about the ingredients when you order since menus change.) Remember, the A, B, and C gates can all be quickly accessed by way of the tram at the lower level. If you have the time, go exploring.
Cantina Grill – B Gates Mezzanine & Jeppesen Terminal, East Side Level 6
Cantina Grill has three different kinds of salsa, a vegetarian taco, burrito, and taco salad, which are vegan without the addition of cheese or sour cream. Their burritos can also be ordered as a bowl, as seen above. The black and pinto beans are made without lard, and the rice is made with water, not animal-based broth. They offer both a to-go area and a restaurant-style area, where food can be ordered at the table instead.
Chef Jimmy’s Bistro & Spirits – A Gates, Center Core
This restaurant has a full bar and is open late for red eye flights. They offer an udon salad with peanuts. (Thanks for the tip, JL!)
Colorado Sports Bar – B Gates, Near B30
According to the PCRM Airport Food Review from 2011, they offer a Portobello mushroom sandwich. Just ask them to hold the dairy-based cheese.
Einstein Bros. Bagels – C Gates Center Core, Jeppesen Terminal Eastside
Many of the bagels at this chain are vegan. (Obviously the Honey Whole Wheat is out and any that have cheese. The pumpernickel & chocolate chip are also not vegan.) You can see their nutritional information here. (If it has cholesterol, of course, it’s not vegan since there’s no cholesterol in plant foods.) Add hummus and veggies, and it’s a filling sandwich for on the go.
Itza Wrap! Itza Bowl! – B Gates Center Core
Itza Wrap, Itza Bowl is owned by the same company that owns Cantina. Any item can be made as a wrap or a bowl as the name would suggest, and then it can be filled with a base of either brown rice, white rice, or udon noodles. Top it with tofu or vegetables, and then add a sauce of Thai Peanut (above), Teriyaki, or Sweet and Sour.
Jamba Juice – B Gates Mezzanine
For a vegan option, get one of the All Fruit Smoothies or Fruit & Veggie Smoothies.
Lefty’s– A Gates, Near A 46; B Gates, Near Gate B48; C Gates, Near C48
According to the PCRM 2012 Airport Food Review, this pub with three locations offers a veggie Philly sandwich. Just ask them to hold the dairy-based cheese.
Modmarket – B Gates (ESTIMATED OPENING: JUNE 2014)
Modmarket, a Colorado chain focused on natural foods, will be opening in the B Concourse in June 2014, according to an email exchange I had with them. Almost all of their salads can be made vegan with a few tweaks (i.e. by substituting tofu and/or using Daiya cheese.) Most of their salad dressings, except for the creamy dressings, are vegan, because they use agave syrup instead of honey. A lot of their sandwiches can be made vegan by substituting tofu. For breakfast they are planning to offer a number of vegan steel-cut oat breakfast options. They won’t be offering pizzas at their DIA location. You can read all about my last visit to one of their other locations by clicking on this Modmarket review.
New Belgium Spoke – A Gates Commuter Facility, Near A61
At New Belgium Spoke they offer prepackaged snacks for travelers in addition to newspapers, magazines, and a full-service bar. According to the PCRM 2012 Airport Food Review, they have a veggie hummus platter.
Que Bueno – B Gates, Near B52
Que Bueno offers burritos, chips, salsa, and guacamole. I had a vegetable burrito with black beans (request no cheese) and a side of chips & guacamole during my last visit. The vegetables had a good amount of spice on them, making the burrito less bland than some other airport options. It’s also very big, making it large enough for two people to share. For more heat, ask for a container of sliced jalapeños to go.
Root Down – C Gates
This Denver-area restaurant focused on seasonal and local fare now has an airport location at the top of the escalators from the tram. This is easily the best place to eat vegan at the airport. On the menu, there is a “V” next to the items that can be veganized. The veganizable options include: sweet potato fries, edamame hummus, sweet potato falafel, roasted beet or Caesar salad, veggie burger sliders, a tofu reuben, or country fried tofu. During the brunch hour they also have a breakfast burrito and tofu scramble that can be prepared vegan. Click here for a full review of the DIA location of Root Down.
Starbucks Coffee – B Gates, Near B83
In addition to specialty coffees with soy milk, one can typically find a variety of nuts and dried fruit for sale.
Tamales by La Casita – C Gates, Center Core
According to JL at JLGoesVegan, this Mexican restaurant has vegan options, including a breakfast burrito. (Hold the cheese and egg, add beans.)
TCBY Frozen Yogurt – C Gates, Center Core
This fro-yo stand now offers vanilla almond milk frozen yogurt. (Thanks to Leslie for letting me know!)
Wolfgang Puck Express – B Mezzanine
Wolfgang Puck Express offers a variety of salads with mixed greens and spinach that can be made vegan by omitting the animal products. For easier ordering, sit at the bar and chat with the servers about mixing and matching your salad ingredients. They also have a changing soup of the day, which may or may not be vegan. Unfortunately, a cheeseless pizza at Wolfgang Puck Express is not vegan, because the crust is made with honey.
One more note about options at the Denver Airport, I noticed that Udi’s recently opened a location in the B Gates, and since this fast casual restaurant usually has vegan options, I walked by to see their menu. Unfortunately, there didn’t appear to be anything vegan. I sent them an email asking if they planned on including vegan options at the airport, but I didn’t hear back from them. If you happen to have some time, perhaps their menu will have expanded by your next visit.
For more vegan options at airports, check out my posts on the Detroit Metropolitan Airport and the Minneapolis St. Paul Airport. You can also read more about vegan options at the Denver International Airport here on this post by Barb at That Was Vegan?