Before I wrap up my Denver trip, I’ve saved the best for last – City, O’ City. I was able to visit this new-to-me favorite a couple of times before the blizzard hit. City, O’ City is a spacious vegetarian restaurant with lots of vegan options and all-vegan baked goods. They serve early morning breakfast starting at 7 am and dinner and drinks until 2 am. In the first room of City O, there’s a diner-style bar, tables, and a community table with hanging lights made from repurposed typewriter parts and LiteBrite lights. The second room is darker and moodier with more tables for seating and a bar selling cocktails, wine, and beer, along with a rotating art collection.
When I was there the featured art was a series of miniature prints in heavy frames from Sandi Calistro, the same person who painted the gorgeous mural alongside their brick exterior wall (below). The prints had been up for a few weeks, and by the time I was visiting, all of the diminutive giclee had been claimed, or else I would have procured one for myself.
Now onto the food… The first time we visited it was in the late evening. (Excuse the grainy, nighttime pictures!) Our group decided to order drinks and appetizers to share with each of us picking something for the table. Vegan appetizer options are often on the slim side at non-vegetarian restaurants, and so we decided to use our good fortune to sample a variety of tastes.
I picked the Crudo, which was a raw plate on a wood board. With a smattering of zucchini roll-ups, julienned fruits and vegetables in spinach leaves, a rustic salsa in a spoon, and a tower of avocado with red bell pepper and greens. This fresh platter paved the way for the fried comfort food to come.
Also on order were the seitan wings, which can come in either buffalo or BBQ sauce. We decided to maximize our options and went with a combination of both. They come with celery sticks and ranch dressing. When my pescetarian friend tasted the dressing, she said she was sure that the dressing wasn’t vegan. She said it wouldn’t be something that could really be veganized and taste like that. Even though it said vegan on the menu, we thought it would be better to check, and so David ran off to find our server. Sure enough, it was vegan, and so points there! Good enough to fool you! The buffalo wings were my favorite with that classic spicy sauce so perfect for dipping in cool dressing.
We rounded out the appetizers with crisp tempura-battered shishito peppers with a soy, garlic, and sesame dressing, and that diner classic, onion rings and ketchup.
Eager to sample more of the non-fried portion of the menu, we decided to head back the next morning.
With a wealth of mouthwatering choices, I knew what I had to order when I saw grilled artichoke hearts on the menu with their dish called Sardou. Apparently it’s a Louisiana classic. It comes in a vegetarian or vegan version, and of course, I opted for the version with tofu instead of chickens’ eggs. The plate was completed with creamed spinach and toasted almonds. I gobbled up this rich and salty dish, which came with a side of breakfast potatoes. Unlike most square cut breakfast potatoes, these were crisp and thinly sliced like savory potato chips.
David opted for the Power Waffle, which was served with a mound of fruit, vegan yogurt, and agave. Crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, I could easily see why their waffles were so popular on all of the tables around us.
City, O’ City has such a cool vibe, and I love their extended hours that can take you all day long. It’s also right in the middle of downtown, meaning easy access to their art museum, Mint, capitol, and outdoor shopping area, the 16th Street Mall. If you find yourself in Denver, pencil in a time for City, O’City. You don’t want to miss it.