Full, bold flavors on a vegetable-focused, fast-casual menu is the name of the game at the brand new Vital Root in the city's Tennyson Art District. Restaurateur Justin Cucci and his Edible Beats team will open the new eatery and bar located at 3915 Tennyson Street on June 15.
The space that once housed the Mountain Nut Fruit & Nut Co. is now sleek and modern, with a clear eclectic Cucci twist. Colored spotlights filter splashes of red and green and orange into the dark space, and translucent neon panels serve as skylights. The massive front garage door provides a belly-up bar space to view passersby, taunting them with healthy dishes. The blue dip-dye walls are complimented by imagery throughout the space that is pure and botanical, with light wood tables, floors and room divider, vintage floral prints, small flower pots, and an eight-foot Japanese maple inside. The perimeter of the back patio showcases a hanging pantone, organic herb garden, and the tables out back have grass inside pressed glass, complete with creepy crawlies inside.
The menu is inspired by Cucci's partnership with yoga teacher Desiree Springer, who owns Vital Yoga a little more than a block away, and an Ayurvedic natural healing belief that health and wellness depend on a balance between mind, body, and spirit. Setting, rather than following food trends, Cucci and his culinary team put together a creative, protein-forward menu for "flexitarians," of salads, soups, woks, bowls, sandwiches and wraps, filled with veggies and whole grains. Among the dishes: Devils on Unicorns, made with goat cheese, Medjool dates, smoked almonds, coconut "bacon," a play on the indulgent Devils on Horseback at Root Down, a chilled carrot-ginger soup with coconut milk, beet, cucumber, apple chamomile oil, and micro celery, and a banh mi made with tofu, pickled veggies, cilantro, mint and a Fresno-sriracha aioli.
With a mod-meets-earthy vibe, Vital Root opens up a new Denver style, where the meaty West could rally around healthful, soulful, sensory experiences. Following up on the wild successes of Root Down (DIA), Linger and Ophelia's Electric Soap Box is no easy feat. But this new venture delivers something whimsical and original, something we're almost used now from the Edible Beats team.