Guest Post: Secretly Vegan-Friendly Restaurants

by Kelly M

Greetings, my lovelies!  I write from under the pile of textbooks, notes, and Ricola wrappers I’ve accumulated studying for mid-terms while trying not to contract this Januaryitus everyone seems to have. So instead of you trying to make sense of a post in which I start out talking about cupcakes and end up somewhere in the Battle of Actium, the centromere of homologous chromosomes, or l’article indefini en francais, I’ll pass the baton for today to the lovely Trisha. She has a wonderful post lined up for you about eating out at the big wig franchises as a vegan (or simply a health conscious individual- I know we can all relate to that!). I was shocked and thrilled about all the fantastic options right under my nose! So without further ado, here is the lady of the hour… Enjoy! -Kelly M.

 

Top Franchises that Cater to a Vegan’s Pallet and Why We Should Support Them
I’ll admit it, living and eating within the restrictions of a vegan diet is both difficult and rewarding. I happily trade the difficulty of having readily available food for the reward of knowing I don’t contribute to the suffering, and killing of animals for food or food products. That being said, I love eating, and for me there’s nothing quite like eating a great meal out with friends.
Until recently I used to turn down a lot of opportunities to eat out with friends because I was convinced there wasn’t going to be anything on the menu that I could eat, but I was wrong. After doing this for a while I decided to do some searching, and have since discovered there are quite a few food chains that serve vegan friendly foods.
So today I thought I’d take a few moments to draw attention to three of my new favorite franchise restaurants that offer vegan friendly menu options.
About the Restaurants
Each of these restaurants have three or more menu items and over 600 locations in the United States and worldwide. I understand that your convictions may not be the same as mine, and I’d hate to suggest something that would cause any distress. So if you have any doubts please do your own research before eating my advice. That being said; lets dig in!
Chipotle Mexican Grill – Over 1,200 restaurants in 3 countries worldwide – A great Mexican restaurant with a lot of options. Everything at Chipotle is vegan friendly except the meat, sour cream and cheese. According to their website nothing on their menu contains egg, fish, shellfish, or nuts of any kind. You can eat any of the beans except for the pinto beans since those are cooked with a little bacon and you’ll want to steer clear of the chipotle-honey vinaigrette. Aside from those few menu items, everything else is fine!

Subway – Over 37,975 restaurants in 99 countries worldwide – Before I became a vegan I used to love eating at Subway. After I became a vegan I noticed how little choice there was for me at Subway. For years the only sub that made the cut was the “Veggie Delight” and that still required them to hold the cheese. Starting in June 2012, however, Subway decided to add three new, totally vegan subs to their menu. These three are the “Sweet Riblet”, “Malibu Greek,” and the “Italian Black Bean.” All three offer vegan meat alternatives and are only available at select locations for now, so if you live near one, be sure to stop by and show your support so they’ll be motivated to expand the selection to more stores!

Qdoba Mexican Grill – Over 600 restaurants in the United States – Like its competitor Chipotle, Qdoba is another great Mexican restaurant with a lot of options. Their website doesn’t mention much about vegan friendly options but there are about twenty-five made to order menu items that are 100% vegan friendly. Like most places, you’ll definitely want to ask an employee for a list of vegan friendly foods before ordering.

Aside from having hundreds of convenient store locations, these franchises also offer lunch and dinner catering, which is cool because it’s really pretty difficult to find good options for vegans in the on-call catering industry.
The More Support We Give, the More Options We Get
Even with vegans comprising a little more than 1% of the US population, businesses still make it difficult to find vegan friendly items on their menu. As a vegan I think it’s important we band together and support franchise restaurants anytime they decide to make the switch from animal based products, to vegan friendly menu items.
Even when they only offer one option, one is better than none and the more support we give them; the more likely they’ll be to expand their selections in the future. Which will not only give vegans more places to eat with their friends, but it’ll also help promote the vegan lifestyle to those who’ve not yet adopted it. Which is something I am sure we’d all like to see happen!
About the Author:
Trisha Jefford, is a self-proclaimed foodie, vegan and wine enthusiast who loves scouring the net for new ideas and trends in food creation and presentation. She currently writes and blogs for the website EZ Cater, a site that specializes in finding local catering.

Thank you so much, Trisha! The fun just keeps rolling, folks. Stay tuned!

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1 marleen davis February 3, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Interesting article on Vegan restaurants. That being said, how about same version in a gluten free restaurant selection. I can’t find a single chain that has any baked goods to go with any of their meals that are gluten free. I would love a hamburger with a bun or a bagel with lox and cream cheese or even a muffin or roll with my soup but those are not available in any restaurants that I have gone to or called and asked. I know of one small deli type place that has sandwiches that will give you gluten free sliced bread for an additional cost but the bread is not good–it has been frozen and thawed (probably more then once) to maintain? freshness. Any consumer can buy this bread from the freezer at their local grocery but it is bland and tasteless because it is mass produced and then frozen and shipped. Oh to be young and adventurous – I would open a gluten free bakery/restaurant because it is very needed as so many people besides those with celiac disease are practicing gluten free living for digestive health. So, can you put a word out there and maybe it will spread to some aware decision makers at chain restaurants to grab a big portion of the market share. Thanks, Your other mom, marleen

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