I meet with people all over the world and often I get asked “How do I go out to eat as a vegan?”. Many towns across the world do not have a vegetarian restaurant let alone a vegan one. So what do you do when you want to go out for a meal or have guests in town? Visit my blog for a great post on how to eat out and the type of restaurants to look for when searching for veg options.
Many restaurants and chains now offer vegetarian options so it’s easy to get a great meal if you are vegetarian. But for vegans it’s a little bit harder. Often those vegetarian options are laden with butter and cheese and are hard for the cooks to alter. Having vegetarian options is not enough these days. Many people have allergies to wheat, corn, dairy and eggs so it’s crucial for a restaurant that wants to thrive to offer meals that are allergy aware AND vegan. There are so many great reasons why a non-veg restaurant would want to offer these meals and today I tell you why! I also want to give props to the restaurants that are serving delicious vegan food and understand the importance of offering tasty options for us.
When you offer vegan options you are including everyone. People who are not vegan can enjoy them and those of us who are vegetarian or vegan will have something to eat at your establishment. By not offering vegan choices you are excluding potential customers. And please educate your staff on what items on your menu can be made vegan. There’s no other wrath than that of a vegan scorned. If I go to a restaurant that isn’t helpful I will tell the whole world about it.
You Get Cool Points
Let’s face it; vegans are cool and when you step outside your usual box to offer something unique and creative you will get cool points. Be a trend starter and gain a few new customers. You may even get press out of it because anything that is different and unusual gets press. Break out of the mold!
It Shows You Care About Your Customer’s Health
We are facing a health crisis in the US. It’s no surprise that most chain restaurants now offer “heart healthy” options on their menu with special icons. Unfortunately many of those options are laden with dairy. So why not make some dishes that are easily convertible to vegan by taking out the cheese or just leave it out all together. If your staff has no idea how to make something taste good without dairy than hire a vegan chef to come in and help you create some new dishes for your menu.
You Get Customers For Life
With so few options in most cities if you are a restaurant that makes a vegan happy you will have a customer for life. Especially if you are located in a small town where vegan options are scarce. So why not just do it?! It’s easy to create tasty dishes using ingredients you probably already have on hand. So not only is it easy it will not cost you extra money. It’s a no-brainer.
What you can do as a customer?
If you’ve researched your town and found potential places that could easily add vegan items to their menu reach out to them. Set up a time to speak with the owner and head chef and let them know they have potential customers that would frequent their restaurant if they made a few vegan additions. Then you need to spread the word to your other vegan friends so they can contact them as well. Suggest to them that they offer vegan items as specials if they aren’t ready to commit to adding them to the menu. Then go and support them!
Now for a list of awesome restaurants treating vegans right. Mad props to all the wonderful restaurants that our Facebook fans listed when we asked for their favorites. We wish we could list them all, but you will find them in our online restaurant guide. Some of the best vegan food is at non-vegan restaurants so don’t be scared to visit them too. And if your favorite non-veg restaurant is not listed please do add it!
Busboys and Poets
2021 14th St (V St)
Washington, District Of Columbia 20009
This is not only a restaurant but an institution in DC. They hold amazing events and have delectable vegan eats right on the menu. And breakfast is served everyday till 11am where you can get a vegan tofu scramble or organic granola. Other faves are the vegan nachos, spinach & wheatberry salad (add tempeh bacon!), pan-seared basil tofu with risotto, vegan pizza, and all the desserts.
8523 Greenwood Ave N
Seattle, Washington 98103
Vegan and gluten-free mozzarella sticks. Do I need to say more? It’s not wonder that Razzi’s is a big hit with the vegans. They have vegan appetizers, pizzas, and desserts available, along with vegan chicken strips and more! They are extremely allergy aware offering gluten-free crusts and many nut-free options as well.
8401 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, California 90069
Hugo’s has been a favorite among vegans in Los Angeles for years. Not only do they offer tons of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options they offer vegan specials and delicious desserts. HappyCow reviewer favorites are the shepherd pie, macaroni and cheese, burrito enchilada and their decadent desserts.
What are YOUR favorite non-vegetarian restaurants that offer delicious vegan fare?
Photo in header by HappyCow user Quarrygirl at Hugo’s.