Why we do what we do.....

For veganism to thrive, we believe the world needs a variety of vegan businesses, all catering for different kinds of people.

The Den at 23 is not your usual vegan cafe!

We noticed a shortage of places that cater for people who like the taste of meat and dairy, but who are trying to avoid it for ethical reasons.  We know that not everyone wants to switch to a diet of lentils and leaves. 

For this reason we have developed a menu of familiar comfort food with a vegan twist. (You won’t find the stereotypical choices of falafel or hoummus here!)

 Expect juicy quarter pound burgers, oozing melted cheese toasties, and  "chickenless" tang tower burgers!  Cupcakes topped with creamy frosting, warm brownie sundaes, frothy coffees and decadent hot chocolates topped with squirty cream and marshmallows.  (All made with plants instead of animals!)

Whilst "meaty" and cheesy food is our speciality, we do also serve tasty dishes without an ounce of dairy-free cheese or animal-free meat in sight!  Think hearty bean burgers, wholesome roast veg paninis, and ​flavoursome salads.

For a full run down on what we currently offer, you can view our menu here.

 Who are we, and how did we start out?

We are husband and wife team Robert and Jennifer Dunn, and we made the decision to open Colchester’s first vegan café on New Year’s eve 2014.

Jen, a vegan since 2003, launched her first vegan business “ps…it’s vegan!”, in 2010, giving Colchester residents their first opportunity to buy vegan cakes in the town centre, through supplying various shops and cafes.

Rob, a more recent vegan, feels he is a good example that literally anyone can switch to a plant based diet.  Previously a fast food fan, Rob has now totally embraced the vegan lifestyle, and prides himself on creating the most drool-worthy vegan burger combinations (that appeal to the most carnivorous of customers!)

Together we prove that veganism should never mean going without, and that lovers of burgers and cakes can find comfort-food utopia in the heart of Britain's oldest recorded town.

We are now in our third year of trading, and feel incredibly proud to have built up a large following of loyal supporters.  We love that we are still meeting new people all the time and it’s great to hear their stories…old vegans, new vegans, curious omnivores, die-hard meat eaters and everyone in between!  (Everyone is welcome at The Den!)

We don’t think it’s our job to preach to anybody, but do we feel privileged to have created a space where people can freely start conversations with us and find out more about the vegan lifestyle.

For anyone wanting to research the benefits of veganism we would always recommend these great resources:

The film “
Cowpiracy”  (directed by Leonardo Di Caprio) is a must-watch on NetFlix, to learn about the effect that animal farming has on the environment.

The “
Veganuary” website has a wealth of information for new vegans, as does The Vegan Society website.

If you’d like to keep up to date with our news then please follow us on our  
Facebook  and  Twitter pages! 

 Colchester's first vegan cafe

   23 Crouch Street, CO3 3EN

Email: thedenat23@gmail.com