• Denver’s City O City: Authentic Vegetarian and Vegan Pizza Joint

    January 20th, 2010mr meanerdenver, more restaurants (not LA)

    One thing I miss about my vegetarian days is spending an evening with some friends in a pizza restaurant. Take some tasty pizza, a few glasses of wine, and a liberal helping of grated chillies, add in a cool environment (preferably dark, with an extensive bar) and you’ve got a winning combination.

    While many cities have pizza restaurants, and all of them can serve a vegetarian pizza, getting a vegan pizza usually involves a major inquiry into the composition of the dough and sauce then (at best) eating the thing with no cheese, usually a dry, affair. It’s also embarrassing going there with friends and ending up with a green salad, should the crust not be vegan, so I tend to avoid eat-in pizza restaurants these days.

    So, imagine how thrilled I was to visit City O City on our recent trip to Denver. Whomever thought this place up is a complete genius, and I wish they’d open one (or several) in every city in the USA. The place is entirely vegetarian, super vegan-friendly (they make two vegan cheeses on the premises and have a ton of vegan meats) has a full bar, extensive wine selection, cocktails, microbrews, candlelit tables, a rotating art gallery and all the hustle and bustle of a busy, downtown pizza joint. As if that’s not enough, they have several vegan breakfast items, vegan sweets and even an organic coffee bar!

    We hit up City O City on a busy Saturday night, were promptly seated and started to pour over the menu. Oh boy. Before we even got to the pizza section we were pulled in by “Seitan Wings” with a choice of sauces and dressing. We hoped these were vegan, and indeed they turned out to be, so we ordered them along with our drinks while we debated our pizza order.

    buffalo seitan wings. $7

    Within a few minutes a HUMONGOUS basket of spicy seitan “wings” arrived, along with a cool ranch dipping sauce and sticks of celery. This dish was absolutely amazing – crunchy, hotter than hell and chewy beyond belief. The order was only $7, so we thought it would be good to share between two people, but it turned out to be not only much larger than we thought, but much tastier too. It was gone in a couple of minutes.

    For our main dishes, we opted for the meaty “Animal Lover’s” pizza, which came with vegan sausage, pepperoni onion and mushrooms. We subbed jalapenos for the green peppers that usually accompany this pie for a spicy, meaty and hearty meal to warm us up from the sub-zero temperatures outside.

    animal lover's pizza: seitan sausage, seitan pepperoni, fresh chilies, caramelized onion, mushroom, vegan mozzarella. $9

    Cuz we’re gluttons, we ordered another pie, the very Italian sounding “Florentine”, an olive-oil-based pizza with roma tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms and fresh rosemary. Yes, it was as good as it sounds. Better, probably.

    florentine pizza: garlic-infused olive oil, mushroom, spinach, roma tomato, fresh rosemary, vegan cheese. $9

    Both pizzas were covered in home-made vegan mozzarella, which was really tasty and melty. City O City also has an option of vegan cashew ricotta which we didn’t try, but looked very tasty on the pie at the table next to us. In fact, when we asked the people eating it what they thought they said it was better than the vegan mozzarella, which was awesome to begin with.

    The crust was thin and crispy, all blackened on the underside and crunchy on the edge, yet soft where it matters (just like me!). The sauces range from the basic (garlic infused olive oil) to the exotic: fig, hummus, chipoltle marinara. The only non-vegan protein topping is an egg, dwarfed by seitan sausage, seitan pepperoni, tempeh bacon, bbq tofu and even falafel. If that isn’t enough, you can choose from 16 vegetable toppings and an array of salads, wraps and fried stuff, nearly all of it vegan.

    I simply can’t sing the praises of City O City enough. The place is awesomely vegan friendly, the food is incredibly tasty and filling and there’s a bar with so many different drinks you could spend a whole day there and never eat or drink the same thing twice. Indeed, I intend to on my next trip to Denver.

    City O City even had cool decorative lamps!

    Talking of Denver, where I was lucky enough to live for a year (sadly before City O City was open), this restaurant attracted a great crowd of hip Denver natives who are that unmistakable vibe of unassuming, pleasant and just pleased to be there.

    City O City
    206 E 13th Ave
    Denver, CO 80203
    (303) 831-6443
    Mon-Fri. 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.
    Sat-Sun. 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.

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11 responses to “Denver’s City O City: Authentic Vegetarian and Vegan Pizza Joint” RSS icon

  • WHY is there no place like this in LA? Nearest we have is Purgatory (but that’s more like a donut shop inside than a pizzeria), and Pizza Fusion’s ambiance is more fast-food and pretentious than a down to earth pizza joint.



  • What a cool looking place! Totally reminds me of some of the awesome places I ate in Seattle.

    Todd: You’re so right! Cruzer Pizza could be this place if they had sit-down service and put a little effort into the atmosphere! I probably wouldn’t eat anywhere else (actually that’s probably a lie, but it sounded good!)

  • i want buffalo seitan wings with ranch dressing. the gardein buffalo wings are my least favorite and i’m too lazy to make ranch dressing. waaaah!

  • WaterCourse Foods in Denver is also awesome, and has vegan buffalo wings – why oh why is there no vegan buffalo wing dish in LA? (and if there is, please tell me, b/c i have somehow missed the memo)

  • (aha! watercourse and city o city are affiliated!)


  • Newsroom Cafe has vegetarian hot wings but I don’t know if they’re vegan.

  • Masa in Echo Park has vegan pizza and pretty rad, homey italian restaurant atmosphere to hang out in. I usually get the vegan pizza at Flore, zpizza, pizza fusion, follow your heart, pizza salad or sometimes green pees (used to love that’s amore), which all have pretty good sit down seating.

    There’s a great place in Valencia that I can’t get enough of called Tomato Joe’s which has a number of vegan pizzas including one dough made with beer. They’re not much for dining in though.

  • Thanks dudes! We’re going to Denver in September, and this heads the eating list.

  • Was just home visiting my recently turned vegan family in Denver, and we went here two nights in a row! My Mom is obsessed with the Buffalo Wings- she prefers them to those at Watercourse for some reason, even though they’re supposedly the same thing. I would absolutely LOVE a bar/restaurant like this in LA. It was very crowded (in a good way) both times we were in. So hard to find a nice bar with great vegan bar food (though I’m investigating Tony’s Darts Away this afternoon!)
    Love. Love. Love this place (& Watercourse)

  • michelle mccracken

    They are closed for this moth for a remodel so I missed out:(

  • not sure if my last pot went through but I just wanted to say you could find their new menu on that site

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