Does HC underrepresent vegfriendly venues?
Posted by groovyvegan at 12/22/2007
Health food store - We will add it just as soon as possible.
I found a Thai restaurant in Folsom, CA yesterday with a separate vegan-friendly dinner menu with over 30 items, and about 15 items on a separate veg lunch menu. I think it's important to have this restaurant to put Folsom on the map, otherwise vegans traveling thru here have zero options. But I ran into the below policy. Folsom is a mainstream city that does not have any pure vegetarian restaurants, nor health food stores (other than ones selling only vitamins), nor farmers' markets that I know of. A vegan traveling thru Folsom might love to know about this restaurant, but I can't seem to get it listed b/c of the policy below, which I think does a disservice to travelers.
I think that when one does a search for "100% vegetarian restaurants" for a particular city, they should simply get a "no match found" message. Or a "no match found, but this city has at least one listing for a veg-friendly restaurant."
"Also note regarding Veg-friendly but Not 100% Vegetarian:
In order to add a new US city to the HappyCow website, there needs to be a pure vegetarian restaurant OR a health food store in that city also, in order for us to add veg-friendly/not 100% veg places. Otherwise, when a visitors chooses the "Show 100% vegetarian only" default, the newly created city will not show, and the website will lead the visitor to an ERROR page ("this page does not exist... there are no vegetarian restaurants in this city")."
Thanks for posting on this subject. We've been looking into the way the site works and may make some changes soon.
Did you still submit that Thai place to us? We do need to hold some standards of what's worth listing. "a separate vegan-friendly dinner menu with over 30 items," is much better than nothing. However, Folsom is quite close to Fair Oaks which does have totally veg. places to eats and if I were passing through I'd prefer that.
If Folsom is a decent sized city, I'd also be surprised if there wasn't a shop selling health food basics, or a farmers market.
If you live in that area, please help outt the guide and find out about them.
I'm still in Folsom, but down with the flu and leaving tomorrow, so can't help out with leg-work, unfortunately. My omni fiance found the Thai place after much searching, while looking for vegan food he could bring me back to the hotel room. I will, however, call a friend who is a local to inquire about a farmer's market.
The population is 70,000 people, and they even have an REI. One would think it would be more veg-friendly, but it doesn't seem to be. The Chinese restaurant with definite vegan options has gone out of business. And my friend who is local knows of no natural grocers.
Are there any farmers markets in your town? Or places selling organic produce? If so, then maybe the city can be added. Otherwise, you could advertise your place in the nearest cities:
This would also be a good idea for your friend. She could also get her place listed in our catering guide: http://www.happycow.net/vegetarian_catering_directory.html
At this point we are hesitating to add places that are only bakeries or just juice bars because we don't have the staff to manage all the extra submissions that would result, and it would also require coding of a new section.
Why not add some vegetarian sandwiches or snack food to place and then we'd be happy to list you. If you make good ones your customers will also be grateful.
Adding in more places would definitely be massively labor intensive, then you ask, "where do we draw the line"? You could really go on forever adding more and more places but it would be nice to have a quick go to for choices in any city, whether veg friendly or not.
Just some random thoughts ^_^
I know I am open to trying a lot of places listed here, having some faith in the process. I think limiting the establishments to quality places is more important than listing every place that serves a salad. I also think listing here places should be "veg friendly" in that when I ask them what is vegan or can be made vegan, I should not be told that they either don't know what that means or give me an attitude b/c they are busy. In considering "veg friendly", please consider what that really is supposed to mean. Perfect example is Health Haven or Black Forest Acres, 2 terrible health food stores in NJ. Their food is not vegan friendly despite being a deli in a HF store. I got a cold boca burger on cold bread with a stack of alfalfa sprouts at HH (not what I had in mind), and some other slop at BFA that I had to give back since they put mayo on. They both have a ton of meat samiches. Not really worthy of being listed as a place to grab a bite on the way through.
I think traveling takes planning. Bring things you can make in a pinch, and if you are lucky enough to pass by a place w a great vegan listing when you are hungry that much the better.
As I had briefly mentioned above, I think it would be cool, possibly as a completely different website, as it might very well not fit the happycow site, to have a site where people can find more common places that are in many areas that they may be able to find a couple options (definitely not destination locations but places to go when you have to). This comes to mind not only for myself, but I have many vegetarian patients who also want to know where they can eat, and it would be cool if there were more options listed than just my personal experiences I can give them. Now if only I had time to start that website....maybe we can make it one of the groups on here? hmm
May I suggest to you and other travelers to carry a jar of nut butters, or some other very easy fix, as the only "fast food" option? Or if they are more prepared, throw a cooler in the car and put some salad or pre-done tofu that is quite lovely cold while traveling.
Also remind them that the left lane is for passing.
So, you get lots of left lane hogs on your side of the country, too, huh? ;)
Please read our policy again. Everything is on a case-by-case basis. Be sure to describe the situation.
Putting tighter restrictions on restaurant listings in big cities is understandable. In that case, you are sifting through and only listing the most animal-friendly places and we should thank you for that. But please, please do not foget the plight of those veg*ns who live in red states and rural areas. Can you imagine living somewhere where you have to drive over an hour one-way to get to a Whole Foods or an all-vegetarian restaurant? Where everyone you meet hunts and has never met a vegan? Happy Cow is our life-line. When a new veg-friendly restaurant comes to town the very few animal-friendly people here need to know about it ASAP so we can frequent it and keep it in business. Vegetarianism doesn't even have a foothold in some of these places and setting the bar too high for places in rural areas will prevent them from getting a foothold.
My suggestion is to apply the strict rules to cities with populations of 500,000 or more and allow more liberal listings in places where vegetarianism is fighting for survival. Allowing them on the list like you used to do and labeling them with the warning "not 100% vegetarian" is the way to go.
I love HappyCow and thank you for all you do.
Likewise, your statement "Happy Cow will not accept a listing for a veg-friendly restaurant if it serves beef" is wrong. As long as certain criteria are met we will list any restaurant.
Please read carefully: http://www.happycow.net/submit-veg-friendly.html
To answer your question, yes, I spent hours submitting restaurants that were not listed. I discovered a restaurant called Noodles & Co. (a small chain). All their dishes start vegetarian, you can add tofu or yes you can add meat. I looked up and submitted all the locations that were in rural areas. I did this b/c the location by me is one of my veggie life-lines and I wanted veg*ns in similar rural areas to know about this place. Why most of my submissions were not listed is not my concern. I defer to the judgment of The Cow. But of course it's disappointing.
More importantly, about 6 months ago I went to submit a listing for a sub place in a small town in Michigan where half their menu is vegan subs. When I got to the screen that asked, "Does this restaurant serve dead cows (beef, steak, veal)or dead baby sheep (lamb)?", I clicked 'yes' b/c they served a roast beef baguette. I was taken to a screen that said my submission was blocked, that b/c the place served one of these items it could not be listed. Why would I make that up? I'm not. After reading your comment above I tried to submit the place again and I see that your policy has changed. When I click 'yes' to the meat question, I am still allowed to submit. Thanks.
Sorry for being a bit defensive. The veg-friendly submissions are a major challenge for us. It's seldom that a veg-friendly place is clear cut and easy to add. Unlike fully veg places, we spend a TON of time researching before adding them.
I'm not sure what happened to the listings you added, except for "Noodles & Co". We have had their locations submitted by other in the past and have checked out their menu. At that time the locations were in larger cities that had other options and therefore denied. I believe that all the Noodles & Co submissions I reviewed were in big cities with other options. In a small town with no pure veg options it would be acceptable. Sorry if yours was deleted without recognizing the location.
I think that Noodles & Co is also the kind of place that a veg*n would likely check out for options without seeing it on HappyCow. This is the case with most Chinese, Thai, Indian, and other ethnic cuisine. Doesn't every veg*n know this? Maybe I'm wrong in assuming that.
Also, we are always refining our submission guidelines. You might want to re-read it since it's different from 6 months ago.
Again, we do have to keep some standards and it's a difficult subject.
If you know of places that really deserve to be listed please submit them (again-sorry).
part of what those of us on the other side of the fence from you contend that listing places like that is deceptive. your claim that all their dishes start out veggie but that is very FALSE. You should review their website, click on the allergies, and they list what item has what allergen in it. Not all start out veggie whatsoever.
By spreading the misinformation along with the contacts for it, most travelers may get the wrong impression. if you were told this by a worker, they are misinformed, and you should by all means tell the manager.
Yes, vegans know where to get Thai food and how to gauge its veganification. I personally pass on Chinese like that, but... that area is the slippery slope, we as customers don't get to walk into kitchens to see how it is really handled either.
I just reviewed the standards and appreciate them. Do you want to know when older listing may not conform to your new deal?
Most definitely, let us know if a veg-friendly place listed doesn't deserve to remain listed, especially if has only bad reviews. Thanks.
Poppy Seed05/07/2010 20:31:49
Poppy Seed05/07/2010 20:34:21
The Veggie Cook05/07/2010 23:00:00
BUT that would really clutter up this fine website. HappyCow is frequently updated and well maintained. There is a quality standard that I feel sets it apart from other restaurant and dining guides out there.
(Personally, I'm tired of seeing all kinds of meat restaurants trying to disguise themselves as "vegetarian friendly" when they don't really care about the animals or vegetarian health; but rather, advertising "vegetarian" is just a way to bring in more customers and make more money. OH, and about cross contamination in the kitchen?! Eek.)
Peace ...05/09/2010 22:30:47
Making profit is one of the reasons why people go into business. There are also real example where Meat Restaurants Holding opening 1-2 Vegetarian Restaurants (for more diversification or other reasons ...) and some of them having 50% of meat restaurant and 50% of vegetarian restaurant in the same holding. Some Owners and Chefs are non-vegetarian.
Within my own country, I can easily know where to find vegetarian food and I know how to cook and don't mind cooking, so no big issue.
The problem comes when I am oversea for holidays or working trips, the decent vegetarian restaurants could be far away and difficult to locate or maybe such info can't be located anywhere and other constraints.
That make travelling for veg*n difficult, as certain countries does not allow tourist to bring food in at all. Either is there time to go visit the supermarket to get some instant vegetarian food (is it available if there is no demand?)
Under such situation, to find a non-veg restaurant willing to cook a simple veggie meal is a blessing ...
In certain situation, there are veg*n who turn semi-veg*n when they are on holidays and there is no need to know which eateries offer veg menu at all.
And some who rather remain as semi-veg*n (oh, i am 90% vegetarian or very flexible veg*n) instead of veg*n, so for them, it will never be an issue to eat veg*n food in a meat restaurants.
Another point is that for those who don't want to see all these veg-friendly options listed, one can always click on the 'show 100% vegetarian only' option and they'll be hidden.
btw- we've fixed that issue of page errors when the filter is set.
Also, we're working on a little guide for vegan survival. If anyone would like to contribute, please contact us- thanks!
I very happily eat fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, salad vegetables etc. whenever I cannot find a veg*n cafe to support!
Meaty places almost always taint their 'veg' dishes in some way.
Peace ...05/12/2010 18:39:03
Maintaining such a site with global information that change so fast is REAL tough job. Kudos to ALL : )
Happycow have the potential to go beyond just providing information on compassionate eating guide. Having so much eating guide information, it could be an unpolished gem, a good "database" or sources which can serves to promote vegetarianism in other undiscovered ways.
Peace ...05/12/2010 18:47:04
A Western person who is not use to asking Asian Food, eating that for 3 meals a day for a week, could be very tough and unbearable.
And for season veg*n, now I tend to do lots of homework before we go for travel. I even personally write email to enquire whether or how good their vegetarian option in Indonesia Hotels, Cruises etc, to ensure I get my veg*n food and they are aware.
Roy's has a VEGAN selection that is out of this world. If you've ever wondered what vegan haute cuisine tastes like, don't miss Roy's. On the menue is a $35 four-course vegan selection which will make a vegetarian believer out of anyone.
Chef Jason Peal is a master creator, believe me! I am told the items on this selection are changed monthly.
On their nasty 'Fall Price Fixe Menu' -
- they are: -
Torturing & killing Cows & Goats & Chickens.
Killing Rock Shrimp.
Killing Tiger Shrimp.
The interesting words in your Review are '...I am told...' - have you actually been inside the restaurant / the kitchen?
Roy Yamaguchi, Jason etc. are serial torturers / killers of animals.
Of course they also use a lot of fruits & vegetables & spices - fruits & vegetables & spices mask the unpleasant smells / tastes of animal's bodily juices / decaying flesh.
I would not give my money / support to such callous people.
.....also it is highly unlikely that sauces, knives, work surfaces etc. are not 'ever so slightly milky, cheesy, fishy & meaty'.
Please add your Facebook Profiles / real identities to HappyCow.
This is the way I see it: We live in an un-veg friendly world, yet we highlight the veg options within it (not to boycott this planet or the people in it, but to nurture those veg options so that they might expand and grow into a network that makes our lifestyle possible). I wonder, shouldn't even the smallest veg option within the cruelest restaurant be highlighted as well? Shouldn't every beacon of hope be given its chance to shine?
I believe Happy Cow has the greatest compilation of veg friendly restaurants ever created. But often think to myself, compassion is an act of encouragement, it is having patience with those who would hate you, and it is having an understanding that even the smallest glimmer of hope is but a bright star waiting to be born.
If we discourage people from seeking veg options in un-vegfriendly places, then we do our goal of creating a compassionate eating guide a great disservice.
1) + I wonder, shouldn't even the smallest veg option within the cruelest restaurant be highlighted as well? +
2) + ........compassion is an act of encouragement, it is having patience with those who would hate you, and it is having an understanding that even the smallest glimmer of hope is but a bright star waiting to be born. +
Trippy lines indeed! ..... 30+ years ago I would have asked you for your acid dealer's number.................
Time to get serious - from my experience few cheeseheads / milkheads / meatheads are actually 'conscious' enough to prepare vegan food without regularly contaminating it with milky or meaty knives / chopping boards / hands etc.
See - "....a dose of prions with your vegetables?" ..... linking to connected threads - http://www.happycow.net/forum/vegetarian/view_topic.php?id=224
Please add your Facebook Profiles / real identities to HappyCow.
There is rarely anything to agree / disagree with with you jive.
You choose to be here anonymously & from the beginning of August I have noticed you posting very wordy nonsense.
Classic example -
+ I wonder, shouldn't even the smallest veg option within the cruelest restaurant be highlighted as well? +
If there was an "annual loony line prize" you would win it hands down with this one.
Perhaps it is time for you to shift into another 'phase'!
I just think that if we seek veg-friendly resturants in an unveg-friendsly world, that that is not so dissimilar from seeking veg-friendly options in an unveg-friendly restaurant.
Its ok if you disagree, its just an opinion.
And if you want to get to know someone, reading a facebook profile is not the way to go about it.
Vegan businesses certainly need / benefit from HC's help in getting more bums onto their seats.
On the topic of 'named' rather than 'anonymous' profiles.....
Reviews from 'real' individuals carry a whole lot more weight / help businesses more than reviews written anonymously.
On the issue of veg-friendly.....
HappyCow was not set up to guide folk into places where they are most likely going to be served cheese tainted / egg tainted / meat tainted veggies.
Lacto places & veg-friendly places etc. need to be approached with extreme caution by compassionate eaters.
So your line -
+ I wonder, shouldn't even the smallest veg option within the cruelest restaurant be highlighted as well? +
- is just about the maddest contribution that you have made to date.
I would never turn someone away from going to a vegan establishment. I only contend that those small veg-options in those not so veg-friendly restaurants have the potential to inspire, and themselves have the potential to grow.
If that is mad, and maybe it is, then I am guilty as charged.
I do like you your comment about businesses preferring reviews from real individuals Johnny. I though would rather establish my "realness" through the passion of my words, and not though who I know on facebook.
johnny is right, jive's words are insane. trying to be poetic about meat on a veg site is despicable (key words: trying to be). get a life troll
Sane folk could / can always find clean 'vegetable food' - HappyCow makes the process much simpler.
I choose to live in Asia & often eat in temple restaurants whose ages may not be accurately recorded but which certainly date back several hundreds of years.
A favorite Buddhist Vegetarian Cafe of mine in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) - 'Tin Nghia' - was started in its current location in 1925 but family members tell that great-great-grandparents & ancestors from even further back worked from a different location - http://www.happycow.net/reviews.php?id=4356
Some more notes -
In 1889 London had 34 'vegetarian' restaurants - source - http://ivu.org/history/thesis/late19-intro.html
The first 'Veggie Restaurant Directories' which I have seen were in the back of publications of 'The C.W. Daniel Company' from a little over a hundred years ago.
London had a commune in the 1840's of folk who we would now call 'ethical vegans' - here is a contemporary paper about them - http://www.ivu.org/history/england19a/A_Brief_Account_of_the_First_Concordium_or_Harmonious_Industrial_College.pdf
Much more here - http://www.ivu.org/history/vegetarian.html
+ HappyCow was not set up to guide folk into places where they are most likely going to be served cheese tainted / egg tainted / meat tainted veggies. +
+ Vegan businesses certainly need / benefit from HC's help in getting more bums onto their seats. +
I am here to promote vegan businesses swaan.
Finding a plate of slightly tainted veggies in a milky meaty restaurant is something that most folk can do without a specialist website.
I respect the focus on Happy Cow on vegan, but it didn't help much when we were in the Dakotas or Puerto Rico (although the latter has rice, beans, plantains and sometimes more on every menu).
I'm ovo-lacto and my husband often eats meat. (Yes I know this is repugnant to some of you, but I'm not going to divorce him, or debate anyone online!).
I understand that it might be hard to have a website that is easy to use but serves everyone's individual preferences. On the other hand, it is possible that this site excludes a number of restaurants that could be appealing to a number of vegetarian-conscious eaters. Perhaps the option "veg-friendly" can be split into two options: "vegan-friendly" and "vegetarian-friendly". Another idea is to have options "vegetarian-separate" or "vegan-separate" that has less strict requirements on the overall menu but is still strict on keeping the veggies not "meat-tainted" (for vegetarian-separate) or egg/cheese-tainted (for vegan-separate).
Just some thoughts.