Vital Root Blossoms in Denver

Edible Beats brings fast-slo food to the Mile High City

Devils on Unicorns is a mouth-watering favorite at Vital Root.

What a surprise to find a healthy, organic, and sustainable restaurant tucked into the Berkeley community northwest of Denver on Tennyson Street. This family-friendly neighborhood is giving birth to several new establishments; the newest is the month-old Vital Root, which opened June 2016. This will be the fifth restaurant in Justin Cucci’s innovative brand, Edible Beats, which also includes Root Down, Linger, Root Down (Denver Airport), and Ophelia.

You’ll first notice the distinctive decor at Cucci’s eateries, which is his use of repurposed and reclaimed elements — many of which are showcased at Vital Root. There’s a 14-foot rebar tree on the outside patio, and inside, these recycled elements are literally everywhere: recycled metal grating from an old post office, glasses made from old bottles, paint cans turned into lighting fixtures, fencing created by using multi-colored lunch trays, and upcycled curtains turned into cotton aprons.

But the food is what brings in the folks, and my mid-afternoon visit found the place hopping. Patrons order at the front from the large menus featuring fast-slo food. What is that exactly? According to Cucci, it’s “nutritious food that promotes wellness without compromising flavor or cravability.” No refined sugars are used, and the kitchen is plant-based from scratch.

For vegans and anyone on restricted diets, 99 percent vegan and 90 percent gluten free options are available. Vital Root also goes to great lengths to obtain the freshest and most organic products available. This includes a network of 55 local farmers and growers and a local 6,000 square foot organic garden. Additionally, out back on their patio, you’ll find an incredible ½ mile winding live herb garden. It doesn’t get any closer to nature than that!

Start with a glass of beer, wine or cider, or have one of its fresh juices or smoothies. Their Safe Word Cacao ($9) is creamy and chocolaty and made with cocoa, hemp protein, sunflower butter, medicinal mushroom complex, MCT coconut oil, coconut milk, and apple cider.

Most of the small plate soups, bowls, woks, wraps, and sandwiches are priced affordably from $7-$10. One of the most popular starters is uniquely named Devils on Unicorns. A variation of the popular Devils on Horseback appetizer, this one is made with Medjool dates, goat cheese, coconut bacon, and smoked almond and walnut oil ($9).

For a larger entrée, try the coconut dosa with Okinawa sweet potatoes, swiss chard, peas, mushrooms, carrots, sambar, mint chutney, and charcoal oil ($11).

Most of the desserts are as creatively thought out as the other dishes and include chocolate pots de crème, Indian carrot pudding, and banana-hemp ice cream with maple and cocoa nibs ($6).

Vital Root is open for lunch and dinner. Hours are 11 am- 9 pm, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; 11 a.m.- 10 p.m., Saturday; 11 a.m.- 5 p.m., Sunday. They are closed Monday. There’s also a happy hour with $5 beer, wine and cocktails from 3 p.m.- 6 p.m. Tuesday- Friday.

FTC Disclaimer: This was a sponsored visit, however, all opinions herein are the authors.

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