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For many Denver-based queers who bow down to the seitan and tofu gods, two restaurants have dominated the realm of safe, LGBTQ-owned vegan havens for years. Watercourse Foods and City O’ City have become more than staples for delicious meals and crafty coffees; they have embodied the hipster realness of the 2010s. However, the two restaurants have recently faced some less-than-flattering allegations of sideways business practices and unfair employment opportunities in the form of flyers distributed all throughout the city.

In December of 2019, manifestos attached to light poles began popping up all over the Cap Hill and City Park neighborhoods. An anonymous letter listed offenses, making accusations to the restaurants and its owner for practices and policies which were less than lawful.

Such claims could definitely be detrimental to a business, and while many folks took to social media forums to either confirm or deny the alleged offenses, owner Lauren Roberts took charge of the situation and implemented some immediate changes. Now, both restaurants have gender-neutral restrooms, something has been a major complaint for some time.

In answer to these allegations, Roberts spoke to OUT FRONT addressing two major issues, safety in queer spaces and working in partnership with the community on feedback:

Amid the recent allegations made and the subsequent changes implemented inside the walls of the spaces, what do you want the public to know about your business and its safety for queer folks?
We feel everyone has the right to be safe, and this takes a community working together. We have many options with all of our facilities and services to best accommodate our patrons and staff. If you would like to know more or ask any specific questions, please email us at info@watercoursefoods.com or info@cityocitydenver.com.

After seeing online banter, both in support of as well as opposed to the restaurants, what rings true to the culture of your business, and how does the feedback inform the steps you’re taking, moving forward?
Our job is [to] serve our community and visitors by providing meals and hospitality. We value the opportunity to learn and grow through dialogue and feedback. We have always prided ourselves on being more than just a restaurant, and we appreciate being invited into larger conversations.
For more information on this situation, reach out to the emails above.