The Gold Leaf Collective offers first fully vegan menu in Fort Collins

Maddie Wright

Location: 120 W Laurel St

Hours: Sunday- 7 a.m.- 2 p.m., Monday- closed, Tuesday-Wednesday- 7 a.m.- 2 p.m., Thursday-Saturday- 7 a.m.- 9 p.m. 

The Gold Leaf Collective interior. (Collegian file photo)

Locally-sourced, plant-based and sustainability-focused are three ways to describe The Gold Leaf Collective.

The Gold Leaf Collective is the only fully vegan restaurant in Fort Collins. Founder and owner, Taylor Smith, partnered with Leaf Seed Catering Co. and Laurel Street Bakery to open the business last April; fittingly, they opened on Earth Day. 

“It is our solution to a broken food system,” Smith said.

Smith said The Gold Leaf Collective does not hold accounts with any major food distribution company. 

“If it doesn’t come locally, it doesn’t come here,” Smith said. 

Third-year english and political science double major, Crickette Miller, is The Gold Leaf Collective customer that enjoys the restaurant’s community mindedness. 

“I actually really like local stuff,” Miller said. “It just feels better.”

Smith said that The Gold Leaf Collective’s menu is ever-changing as a result of the local ingredients. 

“That’s what local means; sometimes farmers get hit with a storm and our menu has to change because of that,” Smith said.

In addition to sourcing locally, The Gold Leaf Collective gives back to the community with its Charity of the Month program. On their breakfast and lunch menu, they have an option called “Chef’s Plate” and the “Preferential.” If you order one of these, $2 from that meal gets donated to that month’s charity.

“I think that’s great, if they’re in a position where their business is doing well enough that their in a position where they can give back to the community like that,” Miller said.

Manager and server, Brianna Long, has been with the restaurant since spring.

“In my old job, I was complaining because I didn’t respect the food or their methods,” Long said. “I thought it was atrocious how much paper and styrofoam they were using. Gold Leaf Collective is exactly the opposite of that.”

A common conversation surrounding vegan diets is whether it provides enough protein. Smith said The Gold Leaf Collective serves a wide range of protein including grain and seitan products. 

“I think we have an epidemic of over proteining,” Smith said. “You don’t need that much protein unless you’re trying to bulk up, and protein without other vital nutrients is useless.”

Smith said vegan diets are important to the world. 

“Even one person going vegan, or plant-based, or whatever you want to call it has an impact,” Smith said. “… The animal agriculture industry is breaking this planet and it’s really distressing. Those who know have a responsibility to act.”

Collegian reporter Maddie Wright can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @maddierwright.