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Vegan Nirvana? We May Have Found It in Boulder, Colorado!

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If you could describe the perfect vegan restaurant experience, what would it be like? The restaurant would have to have a terrific variety of incredible vegan food, of course, and plenty of it. And how about setting it in an elegant but comfortable dining room? And, while we’re at it, let’s add gorgeous mountain views and stylish details like a complimentary glass of wine and real cloth towels in the  restrooms. Finally, let’s make it affordable—really affordable. Impossible! you say? Then you haven’t been to Jill’s.

Enter Jill’s Restaurant


Every Friday from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm, Jill’s Restaurant in the St. Julien Hotel in Boulder, Colorado transforms into a vegan’s paradise.  That’s when this inviting restaurant devotes its entire lunch buffet to plant-based food and features a completely vegan Ooh La La! lunch.

What do vegans eat at Jill’s?

The food at Jill’s is everything you’d expect from a multi-award winning restaurant, and Friday’s vegan buffet is no exception. Awards bestowed on Jill’s Restaurant include the 2015 Forbes Four Star Award, 2014 AAA Four Diamond Award and 2014 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence. The service and staff are exceptional and General Manager Philippe Antoine attends to every detail.

Everyone likes choices and vegans are no exception.  Even people who are not vegan are wowed by the impressive offerings and ever-changing array of plant-based dishes at Jill’s.  Culinary Director Laurent Mechin uses only the freshest ingredients in creating Jill’s vegan offerings. You won’t find any processed soy products here.  And despite its elegant ambience, the atmosphere at Jill’s is comfortable.  Jill’s Friday vegan lunch buffet is all-you-can-eat, and structured around five stations consisting of soup, salad, hot entrée, pizza and dessert.  A complementary glass of Rose’ de Provence is included with each buffet.

Start with soup and salad…

IMG_0057 IMG_0060

One look and you know that the salad station at Jill’s is not your typical salad bar. The station includes a wonderful assortment of salads prepared with grilled vegetables, grains, legumes and/or pasta, in addition to greens, dressings and accompaniments for making your own salad. Prepared offerings might include Quinoa with Kumquat & Grape, Grilled Mixed Vegetables, Sweet & Smokey Garbanzo Beans, Chopped Romaine Salad with Curry Vegetables and Summer Spinach or Panzanella Salad.  There are always two soup selections with offerings like Carrot Ginger, Apple Celery and Pumpkin Bisque.

add pizzas and entrées …

IMG_0053(2) Pesto Grilled Vegetables with Penne Pasta

The pizza station (yes, vegans eat pizza!) offers hand tossed pizza with traditional and gluten free crust options and a variety of plant-based topping combinations.  Entrees vary but may include selections like Brown Rice Arancini with Spinach & Red Sauce, Tomato Bruere Blanc with Crispy Eggplant, Pesto Grilled Vegetables with Penne Pasta and Ratatouille Stuffed Acorn Squash.

and save room for dessert!



Save room for dessert because you will not want to miss Jill’s vegan desserts! Chocolate Fondue with seasonal fresh fruit, Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse Cups, Walnut Brownies and Elvis Cupcakes are some of the delectable offerings.

But what will all this great vegan food cost?

Believe it or not, one of the most satisfying things about Jill’s is the bill you get at the end of the meal. Even after tax and a generous tip, lunch for two with complimentary wine comes in at well under $40. Given the exceptional quality of the food that’s a remarkable deal!

If you’ve ever wondered “what do vegans eat?” go to Jill’s Friday lunch buffet and find out.  It’s a wonderful way for individuals unfamiliar with vegan diets to experience the diversity and deliciousness of plant-based food.  You’ll enjoy Jill’s Friday buffet even if you never want to be vegan.  For vegans, the Friday lunch buffet at Jill’s truly is nirvana.

Some recipes!

Chefs Mark Metzger and Steve Kaufman share Jill’s recipes for vegan brownies and carrot ginger soup.

Carrot Ginger Soup

Jill’s Vegan Brownies


Jill’s Restaurant in the St. Julien Hotel, 900 Walnut St, Boulder, CO 80302. (720) 406-7399. Jill’s vegan lunch buffet is offered on Fridays (except during holidays) from  11:30 am to 2:00 pm.  Reservations strongly advised.  

By Mark W. Reinhardt and Kris Giovanini

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Author: Mark W. Reinhardt

Mark Warren Reinhardt is an attorney and author who has been writing and lecturing on veganism and animal rights issues for longer than anyone can remember. His book, “The Perfectly Contented Meat-Eater’s Guide to Vegetarianism” was published by Continuum in 1998. Mark has previously served on the boards of the Vegetarian Society of Colorado, Rocky Mountain Animal Defense, and Divine Feline, as well as a number of other nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Mark holds degrees in engineering and law from Duke, Harvard, and the University of Chicago. He lives in Denver with his cat Elgie.