South Denver has a new destination for vegan comfort food, thanks to the arrival of JackBeQue. The take-out or delivery-only outlet, which opened inside the Hilton Denver Inverness in February, is the brainchild of Atlanta-born Ross Pullen.
Pullen, who studied sustainability in college before attending Colorado Mountain College Culinary School in Summit County, switched to a vegan diet four years ago with the help of a 10-hour fast. days. This experience opened his eyes to the daily overconsumption of individuals and inspired him to open a southern-style vegan barbecue restaurant. âThere’s so much room to create healthier options for Southern cuisine, but I’ve seen a shortage of it in the Denver area,â Pullen says.
At JackBeQue, Pullen offers dishes produced with whole ingredients like organic bread, daikon radish and hemp seeds, then garnishes them with homemade dishes and of local origin vegan sauces. As the name suggests, one of the highlights of the menu is smoked jackfruit, a tropical fruit native to southern India. When the product is cooked and grated, it looks remarkably like pulled pork, making it a common ingredient in vegan barbecues. In fact, the striking resemblance often deceives even diners. âI had a vegetarian guest at a catering event a few weeks ago who almost didn’t eat barbecue because she didn’t believe it wasn’t meat,â Pullen laughs.
Making JackBeQue’s signature smoked jackfruit requires a long process. First, Pullen mixes the jackfruit with some of his tangy and slightly sweet homemade barbecue sauce. Then it passes through the smokehouse for three days before it’s ready to be served in one of Pullen’s sandwiches, like the JackBeQban, made with barbecue jackfruit topped with vegan ‘cheese’, smoked watermelon, pickles and mustard. from Dijon.
Another must-have menu item is Pullen’s bacon, which is made with marinated and smoked daikon radish, which makes a crisp, flavorful accompaniment to dishes like brandy-braised Brussels sprouts and hearty BeanBePatty Melt. âI prefer whole plant-based ingredients and avoid soy, so I started working with daikon radish to see what I could create,â says Pullen.
JackBeQue only uses natural ingredients, such as non-GMO rice bran oil for frying. Pullen’s commitment to using whole foods is linked to his passion for a sustainable lifestyle. For example, after learning that much of the deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is caused by a demand to grow soybeans, Pullen wanted to remove soybeans from his diet.
Crispy favorites to try include the fried green chili macaroni, bites that are crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside and served with a homemade barbecue sauce. Or order hush puppies, one of Pullen’s favorite foods growing up. Its variation is accompanied by a side dish of vegan maple butter (instead of the traditional honey butter), which complements the sweet spice of the chipotle seasoning.
Fancy some dessert? Finish your meal with the Peach Blueberry Cobbler, served with a creamy homemade hemp ice cream.
After only a few months of activity, JackBeQue is already expanding its schedules and offers. Stop by on the weekends to try their new brunch menu, featuring Belgian-style mac and cheese waffles, homemade potatoes and, of course, a healthy side of daikon bacon.
JackBeQue is open for take-out and delivery inside the Hilton Denver Inverness, Thursday through Friday, 11 am to 8 pm and Saturday through Sunday, 9 am to 8 pm; diners can also order via Uber Eats, Doordash or Grubhub; 200 Inverness Dr. W., Englewood