Community: Forum: Suggestions for HappyCow

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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."

The policy:

"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")."

Responses (67)

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by webmaster at 12/23/07 13:33:47

    Hi Groovyvegan,

    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.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by groovyvegan at 12/23/07 14:16:58

    I did submit the Thai place, noting exactly how many items were on the veg menus and the hours. (And I called to verfify the hours, which was a good thing b/c they were changed somewhat than what was printed on the menu.)

    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.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by gr8vegan at 03/07/08 04:37:43

    Its a really tough line to cross. I really only want to patronize 100% Veg restaurants but most cities can't support them. There are a lot of City specific veg friendly websites like the local Veg societies that run down all the places we can eat. I recently ate at Akasha in LA and its super vegan friendly, but probably doesn't pass the mustard for HC, but its the ONLY White Table Cloth hip place a vegan can eat in LA before hitting the town on a Friday/Sat night so it deserves mention. Just remember that your tofu lettuce wraps were probably cut on the same cutting board with the same knife as the chicken ones before you... I've had food poisoning 3 times at veg-friendly and never once in my life anywhere else. Support 100% Vegan establishments first and then have a listing for desperate eaters or link up to regional/city sites to help the starving vegans like me :)

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by whole1 at 03/07/08 10:30:48

    webmaster, does that mean my organic bakery will not be listed on Happy Cow because we are such a small city and I am the only healthy game in town! Also, we have another friend who runs a vegetarian wedding service here called sacred Vow that I just got to join Happy Cow and she was hoping she would get better exposure to like-minded individuals who would appreciate my business as well as hers.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by webmaster at 03/07/08 11:39:32

    Hi Whole1,
    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:
    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.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Tatiana at 03/07/08 17:38:52

    Yes, I think more brainstorming is definitely warranted in this area. I live in a very veg unfriendly area. Even though I live in the San Francisco bay area, the town I live in is very veg unfriendly so I have to drive far for good veg food. It would be nice to have options for people in more places. It would be kind of neat to point out veg friendly items on menus for places we wouldn't expect, either, like fast food or chain restaurants. I try to avoid them as much as possible and prefer grocery shopping or different restaurants, but many of us will find times when we don't have much other choice.

    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 ^_^

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by whole1 at 03/08/08 13:43:33

    Thanks, webmaster. We do have a brand new farmer's market open that we actually helped push hard for in this area. We support the market as one of their vendors. It is called the Bradford County Farmer's Market and it meets here in Starke at the health department on Saturdays from 8-12 noon. We who support sustainable local agriculture and healthy eating are continuing to work hard to bring more organic producers in as well. I have appreciated the services of Happy Cow in the past and it has saved me personally alot of driving around trying to find something good to eat when traveling. I simply want others of likeminded persuasion to be able to find me as well when they are in my neck of the woods(as far out in the neck as we are!) Any help would be appreciated. I am more than interested in providing a veggie friendly sandwich and am continuing to play with different items to get a highly nutritious veggie sandwich. As of this point in time a tomato, lettuce and sprout on choice of freshly milled bread is all we offer. I am continually frustrated by ingredients being added in to what is supposed to be healthier choices and I refuse to serve them as a good alternative. I am as fussy about that as I am about what makes bread healthier. To me it is not enough to have awesome tasting fillings if the bread is the same old dead so-called whole wheat. But I will continue to pursue a great veggie filling to honor my delicious breads with. The closest I have come lately has been with a lentil & almond burger. I will keep you posted.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by kindlizard at 03/08/08 14:31:32

    I think everyone would ideally like to see their area represented; but they can't create places in our area either. I sure don't want to see Taco Bell listed, as I have seen elsewhere listed as veg-friendly other places, b/c they have a bean burrito or some such nonsense. These guys do a great service for which I think we should all be thankful.

    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.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by gr8vegan at 03/08/08 15:37:27

    So the answer to this topic is "No, Happycow doesn't under represent veg-friendly venues" BECAUSE to include them all would dilute 100% veg places and hinder their survival. You can always post anything in the regional information area of your city. Check out my posts for St.louis, Mo / Kansas City / Tampa Fl for an example.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Tatiana at 03/08/08 15:47:19

    I think happycow fits a certain genre and that is that if we go to a place listed on the site, we expect to have some good veg options (as kindlizard said, not just a salad or cold boca burger). Now of course, sometimes we have to weed places out after we visit them (as there is no way Eric and Diana could know the value of the places they are emailed about to post on the site). I plan places on this site to visit when I'm out of town. For example, I will be going to LA soon and am very excited to go to Happy Veggie, which is listed as #1 on the highest rates restaurants. I know I will get quality.

    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

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by whole1 at 03/08/08 16:07:52

    kindlizard, gr8vegan and as always tatiana: thanks for your insight. I certainly do not want to see Taco Bell listed in my area as "veg-friendly" they are nowhere equal to the quality nutrition level of my baked goods! gr8vegan, your point is well taken. I in NO WAY want to detract from the 100% veg places, either!! So what is the solution? For vegetarians, vegans and omnis alike, freshly milled whole grain bread is THE only kind we should be filling our bodies with. Would starting a "group" within Happy Cow be the answer? A place to possibly list "true" veg friendly places that do match the criteria for veg restaurants? Any additional thoughts? Because for a place like mine, just advertising in the local paper isn't going to bring those who already understand eating this way. Thanks for the interaction. I am eagerly awaiting more postings.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by kindlizard at 03/09/08 01:02:00

    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.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Tatiana at 03/09/08 14:02:53

    kindlizard - Yes, definitely! I bring energy bars, dried fruits, etc on all my trips with me. That, I would say, is a definite must have for veg's on any sort of trip! I have to keep my sanity while many of my friends make their stops at all those fast food joints.

    So, you get lots of left lane hogs on your side of the country, too, huh? ;)

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by kindlizard at 03/09/08 14:31:21

    Yes, but I wrote about it extensively, in song in fact, from living out West.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Tatiana at 03/09/08 14:49:31

    Wow, I'd love to hear it. I definitely live in it!

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by webmaster at 02/26/09 12:20:51

    Here is the most current and comprehensive HappyCow guidelines for adding a meat restaurant that also serves some veg.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by sean_r at 01/27/10 12:19:42

    Some great vegan options are missed in our town because of this policy. Vegan options are limited in a town of 15K surrounded by redneck-hippies. Especially because so many poor options were grandfathered in.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by webmaster at 02/03/10 15:17:21

    Sean R,

    Please read our policy again. Everything is on a case-by-case basis. Be sure to describe the situation.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by happycowgirl at 02/04/10 16:12:04

    You are 100% correct. The "pure veg restaurant/health food store first" requirement makes no logical sense and results in many incredible vegetarian venues not being listed. That's not good quality control, it's bad policy. (This is said with all due respect to this wonderful website that I am so glad to have.)

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by happycowgirl at 02/04/10 16:38:52

    On a similar note, I also believe the relatively new across-the-board rule that Happy Cow will not accept a listing for a veg-friendly restaurant if it serves beef is not in the best interest of the Happy Cow community. I understand wanting to maintain quality control, but you are ignoring the needs of your vegan and vegetarian friends who live outside major metropolitan areas.

    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.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by webmaster at 02/04/10 20:20:33

    happycowgirl, like Sean you have failed to read, or have incorrectly read the submission guidelines. It is likely untrue that "many incredible vegetarian venues not being listed"- again, everything is case-by-case. Have you personally submitted any places that have been rejected?
    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:

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by happycowgirl at 02/05/10 01:42:29

    No need to get defensive. I'm simply providing constructive suggestions and feedback.

    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.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by webmaster at 02/05/10 15:42:18

    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).

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by kindlizard at 02/05/10 16:23:11


    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?

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by webmaster at 02/05/10 18:11:59

    Most definitely, let us know if a veg-friendly place listed doesn't deserve to remain listed, especially if has only bad reviews. Thanks.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by swaan at 11/26/10 20:34:16

    This is truly frustrating. I eat a vegan diet, but I don't think it's my role to impose my eating habits on anyone else. I travel with and hang around with a lot of omnivores, and any way we can dine together is great. I look to the Happy Cow for help in finding food I can and want to eat, especially when I travel. I was just in New Orleans, and there are scant few vegan-friendly restaurants, and no entirely vegan or vegetarian restaurants. I honestly don't care if a restaurant serves "cow flesh" as long as they offer something I want to eat. And, btw, I find the use of those terms offensive. Why not be a little more inclusive? By avoiding that inflammatory language and having fewer restrictions, you could show that being vegan or vegetarian is a positive life choice, rather than radical, reactionary, and restrictive.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Poppy Seed at 05/07/10 20:31:49

    When I go traveling anywhere I always check HappyCow to see where I can eat. I don't agree with these new submission guidelines for non-veg restaurants. I want to know about the vegan options at Thai, Ethiopian and whatever other ethnic restaurants. And since I usually don't see such restaurants listed I have to look them up elsewhere and eat there blindly. What usually happens is I waste time going to several places looking for vegan options or I end up getting a crappy meal. Most vegans know to they can probably find something at various ethnic restaurants, but is the food GOOD? Reading reviews from other vegans is SO IMPORTANT! I want HappyCow to be my one-stop for finding ALL the places I can eat at.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Poppy Seed at 05/07/10 20:34:21

    Webmaster, I just read your post about removing listings... Keeping the listing up would be HIGHLY beneficial. People need to know that a place has only bad reviews or is no longer veg-friendly so they don't hear about it elsewhere and waste their time/money there.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by The Veggie Cook at 05/07/10 23:00:00

    Hi Poppy Seed, you make a valid point about listing meat restaurants even if they have BAD reviews which would serve as a warning to other vegetarian and vegans not to eat there...

    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.)

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Peace ... at 05/09/10 22:30:47

    Yes, this can happen everywhere, in whatever business too. And it is rather difficult to know what is behind the scene :(

    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.


  • Report Abuse

    Posted by webmaster at 05/10/10 20:28:43

    Thanks to everyone who has been posting on this topic. It is a very complex issue with many sides. We were ourselves recently traveling in a very un-veg-friendly city and during that time it would have been nice to know of some places that had even a couple veg options. Most the menus we looked at had no vegan options on them and customization was the only way. Scouring Google local I found a few leads, but of them most had closed down or changed their menus already. HappyCow links to the relevant Google Local pages for cities that don't have any pure veg options. For cities like this HappyCow may list places that only offer a couple options, as it does make it easier for travelers. As our current terms state it's a case by case issue.
    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!

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by JohnnySensible at 05/10/10 20:47:18

    Don't "get" a lot of this thread!

    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.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Peace ... at 05/12/10 18:39:03

    It is never easy and straight forward. It is even more difficult to meet all different demands from different people, different eating culture, in different part of the world.

    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.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Peace ... at 05/12/10 18:47:04

    Due to difficult eating and dining culture, in certain part of the world - nuts/seeds and salad is not that well accepted yet or easily available (I might be wrong).

    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.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Windward at 10/11/10 15:36:27

    I think the best way to promote a vegan lifestyle is to find GREAT vegan selections and expose meat eaters to them. Roy's Restaurant in Waiki, HI has an all vegan selection on their menu:

    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.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by JohnnySensible at 10/11/10 17:53:26

    Roy's Restaurant - not for me thank you Windward.

    On their nasty 'Fall Price Fixe Menu' -

    - they are: -

    Torturing & killing Cows & Goats & Chickens.

    Killing Rock Shrimp.

    Killing Pigs.

    Killing Tiger Shrimp.

    Killng Salmon......

    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.

  • jive's avatar
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    Posted by jive at 10/12/10 01:57:50

    My question is this: Shouldn't it be encouraged for restaurants to provide veg options? Isn't it beneficial for all of us (animals especially) that all vegetarian possibilities be highlighted?

    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.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by JohnnySensible at 10/12/10 04:55:38

    ........weird word jugglery / bordering on insanity from jive - as usual.

    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 -
    Please add your Facebook Profiles / real identities to HappyCow.

  • jive's avatar
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    Posted by jive at 10/13/10 15:33:06

    Was that a disagreement Johnny, or just an attack on my character? I really cant tell!

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by JohnnySensible at 10/13/10 18:20:02


    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'!

  • jive's avatar
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    Posted by jive at 10/13/10 20:58:39

    I would love to win the annual loony line prize, but I dont see what that has to do with the topic of this thread.

    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.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by JohnnySensible at 10/13/10 22:44:25

    Most of my friends visit HappyCow to find great vegan food as they travel & to write informative reviews / read reviews left by others.

    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.

  • jive's avatar
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    Posted by jive at 10/14/10 03:02:03

    I'm sure 60 years ago, every veg-option was cheese tainted / egg tainted / meat tainted, and found only in places that zealously serve meat. But in time, those options were spotlighted by people that long ago wanted to eat animal free. Soon, more of those options became available, and the need for vegetarian restaurants began to grow.

    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.

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    Posted by kindlizard at 10/14/10 03:37:24

    the passion of your words? making up phases and nonsense is passion now? you are guilty. were you not supposed to be on a freeway somewhere meditating for another 35 months? you claim above to live in an unfriendly veg world, yet you come to HC w that attitude, a haven for vegans. Why bring your pessimism around here the way you do? You live, in other words, in a self-loathing head space. Meditate on vegan pride (or just go away) rather than bringing delusion and fiction amongst those who dwell in Vegan Pride!

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    Posted by JohnnySensible at 10/14/10 05:58:32

    Can't relate to your '60 years ago...' idea jive.

    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 -
    Some more notes -

    In 1889 London had 34 'vegetarian' restaurants - source -

    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 -

    Much more here -

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by kindlizard at 10/14/10 03:41:33

    what makes you want to sabotage this website anyhow? boredom or is it the self-loathing thing?

    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

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    Posted by jive at 10/16/10 05:07:59

    I'm sorry you feel that way Kindlizard.

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    Posted by JohnnySensible at 11/27/10 04:19:10

    A bit of repetition -

    + 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.

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    Posted by carolef at 03/06/12 19:44:12

    Is there a similar site for vegetarian-friendly restaurants?

    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!).

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    Posted by davheld at 05/15/12 23:56:30

    Just adding my two-cents - as a vegetarian, what is important for me is just to find a restaurant that keeps the vegetarian items completely separate from the meat items in the kitchen - ie. separate cooking utensils, washing hands / changing gloves between dealing with vegetarian menu items vs meat items, etc. I am less concerned with having the items be vegan-friendly, or even with the number of vegetarian vs meat items in the restaurant, as long as the vegetarian items they are serving are kept separate from the meat.

    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.

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    Posted by MeatfreeKD at 07/01/13 06:59:53

    I wish this site did not only allow reviews for veg friendly places - I went out to dinner in Portsmouth NH to Surf Sushi - a place I would not go if I were not attending my sisters bridal party dinner for 15 of us -- The chefs were outstanding at accommodating 3 vegans in the crowd and although they do serve seafood, this place deserves a rave review for working so hard to create at least a dozen different animal free versions of sushi -- I was in heaven!!!

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Barbstout at 06/06/14 16:02:09

    As a person living on the road I would appreciate a listing of any and all restaurants that will serve vegan meals. I am in many cities that aren't even listed, yet I find places that make amazing vegan meals for those that want them. It is quite disappointing to get into a city with not one listing! At least give us a chance to find something that may work!

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    Posted by ecmasonjr at 08/31/14 10:26:38

    We have one vegetarian restaurant in a 200 mile radius and it's been closed for renovations for the last six months. I've convinced a local restaurant to serve some vegan options and they can't be listed? While I understand the principle of discouraging the use of meat, we need to be flexible enough to realize that every small step is a step in the right direction and not every eating option will be able (philosophically or economically) to go entirely cruelty free. We can be so militant that we cut off our noses to spite our faces, but it does no good for either ourselves or the people we hope to win over to our convictions. While the goal is lofty, the method is short-sighted. In a practical manner, it means that any of us trying to use the locator anywhere but a major city to find somewhere to eat a vegan meal will find it useless.

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    Posted by webmaster at 08/31/14 12:01:39

    Again, please review our guidelines again. We do not stop submissions like the one you're suggesting from being added.

    Here are the most current and comprehensive HappyCow guidelines for adding a veg-friendly restaurant:

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by ecmasonjr at 08/31/14 16:24:31

    Apologies. I went to the submissions page and clicked yes on the serves meat question and was kicked to a page that didn't look promising. I honestly didn't see those guidelines. Fortunately humility is good for us. ;) Mea culpa.

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    Posted by ahimsa32fa at 09/01/14 05:42:11

    I've always been leery of restaurants that serve some vegan dishes.

    Mostly because I've watched the "big name" cooks on TV fail to wash their hands after handling raw meat and eggs, potentially contaminating everything they touch.

    Also, many years ago, a local restaurant in Wisconsin offered to host a vegetarian get-together for our local coop.

    When the food was served, we noticed a tobacco aroma. We went back to the kitchen to discover that the cook was a serious chain smoker and smoked constantly while cooking...and he handled our veggies without washing his hands after handling meat!

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by jenninen at 06/17/16 14:00:13


    I think in some part of the world it makes sense to have restaurants that have only few veg options listed. Here in latin america in smaller towns its nearly impossible to find completely vegetarian places. A year ago when I came this town I'm currently at Happy Cow options helped me a ton in finding vegan food. This year ALL of them have been deleted!!! I could not find ANYTHING with happy cow within a 10km radius even though a year before there were a few places with veg-options. It's the first time the app was completely useless to me and I started to doubt its reliability. I do not think that deleting all veg-options restaurants in a remote area serves anybody, quite the opposite. As I've been discovering on my own, there are a few places that have vegetarian and vegan options here and I think it would be helpful to have them listed. I don't know if they meet the current criteria though. I don't understand why they all had to be deleted in a town, that has no purely vegetarian/vegan place! Greetings from Boquete, Panama.

    Or how about summaries about towns if adding options is getting more strict? Ie. people could write to a certain location that it's easy to find places if you ask around, or here it's not easy to find places but check out this or this place which have a couple of options?

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by kim2121 at 07/19/16 05:24:17

    I want to echo jenninen's thoughts. After just traveling in Chile for six weeks, I really think the standards for this website should vary based on location. I just now wanted to add a restaurant in Concepción, Chile, but got intimidated by the final question about having several vegan options on the menu. I know this restaurant has one option, which I ate, as well as a few vegetarian options, but does it have several vegan options? I'm not sure it's meeting that standard. The thing is that Concepción is so difficult for vegetarians and vegans, I do think there should be more flexibility for places such as this. Although I am vegan, I am finding myself wishing there was a Happy Cow equivalent website that catered more directly to vegetarians, and didn't uphold such strict standards for what qualifies as worthy of an entry into the site. I did a google search and couldn't find any veg-friendly competitor, and it's a shame because I really want to contribute to a site like this but get a bit tired of the high standards for what counts as worthy on this website. Should I just not be contributing? I think a lot of people who travel to areas that aren't vegetarian or vegan friendly (or even just people who have meat eating relatives and friends) want all the information they can get. I don't know why providing as much information as possible is a problem. Can't people decide for themselves once they can look at their options?

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Dobarganes at 08/02/16 03:25:37

    Desde Santuario Gaia estamos consiguiendo que muchos establecimientos incluyan opciones veganas y eso esbun gran logro para la comarca que es de tradición ganadera.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by RichMoly at 08/02/16 19:03:47

    We were lucky to have Happy Cow founder Eric staying with us recently, and this subject arose. I grew up in the county of Surrey (UK) which, despite a resident population of 1.1 million (according to Wikipedia), has no 'proper' vegetarian restaurant (one runs term time in Guildford Institute). Whilst London and other major cities have veg'n venues, the majority of the UK is lacking.

    When people ask "Where/what do you eat?" and say "I couldn't possibly be vegan, it's way too difficult/pricey!", we should be able to show them a Happy Cow map/listing with loads of (popular/affordable) venues, but instead we have to turn to alternative sites.

    As I mentioned to Eric, Happy Cow's map can always have larger, more prominent symbols for veg'n only places, and these can appear highlighted/at the top of listings; plus there's always the veg'n only search tags, for those concerned with contamination, supporting only veg'n venues, etc.

    I buy/support any and all products with vegan ingredients; should I find a fly in a lettuce, that's not an ingredient, and it certainly doesn't make the lettuce non-vegan! Promoting a vegan diet leads to a more vegan lifestyle for everyone, as animal by-products (leather, wool, feathers, rennet, whey, fats such as those used as slip agents in your vegan food's plastic packaging, etc.) become more expensive than alternatives.

    I want us to be able to choose when and where we eat like 'ordinary' people, not compelled to take emergency rations, or go to an overpriced, poor quality venue because it's the only veg'n one around (and doesn't feel it has to compete as a result)... and when we can do that, we can really answer those questions :-)

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    Posted by neutralneutrals at 08/15/16 15:09:48

    I 100% agree with you kim2121, vegetarian friendly should be enough, especially since veg items can often be altered to make them vegan. I use yelp more than this website and just follow yelpers that are vegetarian or post my own reviews.

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    Posted by tgape at 05/11/17 19:55:36

    There are two ways I know of to approach the quality that the maintainers of happycow are attempting to maintain. Filtration and data mining. The current method used is mostly filtration. I would like to make a case for data mining.

    Under the data mining method, quality would be controlled at search time - and restaurants with 0 reviews would only meet the default quality controls if there were no other matches. If the search was for 100% vegan options, restaurants with any non-vegan entries would only be listed if no vegan options were in the search range. And so forth. This would allow the site to accept listings for all submitted restaurants, keeping track of how compassionate or not each entry appeared to be. Reviews would be kept separate from the restaurant listing, so an owner could object to reviews and have them removed without removing the listing of their restaurant. Hopefully, more aspects of the restaurant could be tracked, in keeping with the concept of data mining. Can they do non-spicy, for example. (I've been to a place whose idea of non-spicy was "less jalapenos". Fine for me, not fine for my wife.) Data mining does require more disk space, but much less time per entry in reviewing what goes into the database. Data mining does not preclude the site from skewing the results towards its preference - a search for 'at least some vegan options' does not have to mention any just partially vegan options if there's sufficient vegan options, for example.

    Different people have different eating requirements. And different people have different travel capabilities as well. Someone could be living some place with tons of vegan options around - but because of bumpy roads and limited mobility, they might not be able to go to a restaurant more than a mile away. Even though there were half a dozen 100% vegetarian, very vegan friendly restaurants within a couple miles, if none were within a mile, they might prefer to go to some place closer. My wife is not currently so limited, and the roads around us are currently not so bad, in most directions. But we're also not in a place with any documented vegetarian friendly restaurants within around 3 miles of us. She can manage that, but it's a major outing for her. And restaurant accessibility is a big deal to her as well.

    Handling the quality with data mining techniques also would handle the different quality criteria for different areas as well - you no longer have to consider the area when reviewing new submissions; the data gets filed, and those places that have plenty of 100% vegetarian options would never show the merely veg-friendly options unless someone were specifically searching for them. But places with a dearth of good options would at least be able to have something without intensive review.

    The most generally applicable win for the data mining method: when the last vegan option in an area closes down (even good places do this from time to time, even if they're popular), the filtration method has an empty list, nowhere to go. Data mining, however, already has the full list of suboptimal choices, because it was just not showing them before.

    Also note, as some people have alluded to, but maybe not said in the best way, all businesses are about making money. When someone who wants to be more vegetarian friendly has a business in a non-veg friendly area cannot get vegetarian/vegan customers because everyone nearby wanting vegan food travels 4-20 miles to get food from the places happycow *does* list, they wind up with a menu like the one I have on my desk right now, with mostly meat dishes, some vegetarian options, and one vegan option. Their head chef wants to move towards vegetarian and vegan - but they've been in business for years, and I was one of their first vegan customers. I didn't discuss their business with them for that long, but his wife said I was the first vegan customer she'd rung up. To an extent, other businesses will also be open to being more vegetarian friendly if they have more vegetarian customers. Like Burger King in India not serving beef. They would just move more reluctantly.

    Under the filtration model - I'm not even entering this. There's one vegan option on menu. They have a vegan cheese, so they can make most of their vegetarian dishes vegan easily enough. But as things stand right now, they don't have enough vegan customers to be a quality vegan friendly option - it's hard to justify setting up a third cooking space for a customer base that you almost never have. They made my food in the space that seemed to be less commonly used, which I assume is their vegetarian space. But it's probably contaminated with dairy, considering they only have one item on their menu that doesn't have dairy in it. I don't know how they'll compare to other restaurants I'll find.

    This is literally the second restaurant I've gone to in town. Under data mining, I'd add it, because under data mining, you add everything that might be useful. But at this point, all I can say is it's better than the carnivorous place I tried first. (Did not eat there; with no vegetarian option, it did not seem safe.) But under filtration, I'll need to do a more thorough check of the area to see if this is exemplary for the town first.

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    Posted by tgape at 05/11/17 22:05:19

    Just to clarify on my response above - I'm only suggesting to do less filtering on submissions regarding stuff that you would possibly accept now under the right circumstances. Places that you would never want to list under any circumstances would not have any use for being in the database. Just... if the conditional criteria were coded into the search engine instead, you'd have the data when it was useful.

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    Posted by MonicaBuriola at 09/24/17 12:12:33

    Credo sia giusto, l'importante ci sia anche cibo vegano

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    Posted by Jaiprem at 10/05/17 20:13:54

    I just found a restaurant in the Loire Valley that offers a three-course vegan menu in addition to their traditional French cuisine. In the Loire Valley!!! There’s not another vegan option for miles... but I can’t list it on this site because it also has a traditional French menu. Other vegans who find themselves in this vegan wasteland will just have to suffer. I think it’s time to embrace eateries that are starting to come around.

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    Posted by verbosity at 01/27/18 02:21:51

    A business with that many options is clearly a legitimate addition to Happycow regardless of location/proximity to other locations. This looks like something that Happycow needs to address sooner rather than later. The more the merrier (as long as they are legit).

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by eric at 01/27/18 05:39:14

    @verbosity - if a place has many vegan options, we'll list it, with the exception of places which foie gras / veal
    @Jaiprem - it's always case-by-case. Submit it and mention the facts- thanks!

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