When it comes to eating vegan in Colorado Springs, it’s hard to find a better expert than J.L. Fields. She is an author of eight vegan cookbooks, founder and instructor of the Colorado Springs Vegan Cooking Academy and organizer of the annual Vegan Restaurant Week, happening this year Nov. 1-7. So when we wanted to know about plant-based eating, we threw a few questions at J.L. for the scoop on the best vegan dining in the Springs.
Springs: What’s the best vegan dish you’ve had in Colorado Springs during the last year?
J.L. Fields: I’m currently obsessed with the Chef’s Vegan Tasting Menu at Mood Tapas Bar. Chef Noah has a way with vegetables, and you simply must try the grits (made with oat milk)!
What has been your biggest surprise in the last year?
I cannot believe that in year five, while still in pandemic mode, we have the most restaurants ever participating in Vegan Restaurant Week—28!
How has the vegan scene changed since you came to Colorado Springs nine years ago?
I think Colorado Springs reflects what’s happening in the U.S. and beyond. People are making conscious decisions to eat aligned with their ethics, whether motivated by justice for animals, the environment or their health. Specialized vegan products are everywhere! Colorado Springs has vegan-friendly restaurants, bars, bakeries and more.
What’s the biggest challenge for vegans in Colorado Springs? Any advice to deal with it?
At one time we had seven vegan establishments in town, and now we’re down to four: two restaurants, The Burrowing Owl and Santana’s Vegan Grill, and two food trucks, The Joint Vegan Street Food and Green Machine Grill. The restaurant industry is tough in general and tougher during COVID-19. Until we see that vegan boom bounce back, I say keep going to the vegan joints and show up for the vegan-friendly restaurants to emphasize the demand.
What are the top, go-to restaurant or bar recommendations you give to vegans in the Springs?
It’s Vegan Restaurant Week in the Springs