Opinion: Vegan options at non-vegan restaurants: Are they any good?

By Farrah Blaydes, Staff Reporter

Being vegan in a college town proves difficult for most people.

As if announcing you’re vegan at every restaurant wasn’t already annoying, most restaurants have nothing for you to eat aside from salad and water.

(Editor’s note: There’s more to the diet than salad and water.)


Most restaurants aren’t vegan-friendly, but for the ambitious restaurants who try to accommodate the no-meat, non-dairy, and non-animal byproduct diet, we applaud your effort.

Searching for the perfect middle ground where you can have vegan food and your friends still enjoy their non-vegan food, I decided to test the vegan options from non-vegan restaurants.

Chango’s Bar and Grill

Chango’s is a restaurant in Carbondale located on the strip. The restaurant serves mexican cuisine and is a big hit with students on campus. For non-meat eaters the restaurant offers a tofu option as a substitute for meat.

Curious about the quality of the food, I ordered tofu nachos with salsa verde, olives, tomatoes, rice, and other various toppings. Surprisingly I stayed under budget, including the delivery.

After 20 minutes a delivery driver dropped off my order and the mouth-watering aroma wafting from the bag hit my nose. Opening the bag, the salsa came in a small container for consumers to pour or dip as they please.

At first glance the nachos looked appealing. The only problems I had were the chips losing their crunch after awhile and the tofu was bland, missing seasoning. Overall the meal was still pretty great.


Primo’s Pizza

Primos Pizza is a great pizza parlor located across the street from University Hall. Unfortunately they didn’t have a vegan menu so I had to improvise.

The menu entailed tons of options so I decided to go with a pizza bowl. A pizza bowl is a bowl that has your choice of veggies or meat and a thick layer of cheese.

I decided to ditch the cheese and order a pizza bowl with green peppers, banana peppers, olives, spinach and jalapeños.

If you think this bowl comes with pizza crust, think again. The bowl came in a tin container filled with sauce and my toppings of choice. Talk about a misleading name- I had to use tortilla chips to eat this, and used the rest of the meal as pasta sauce later.

Although the title was misleading the sauce and veggie combination served as a great dip rather than a pizza. On the bright side it was under ten dollars.

Burger King

The “Have it your way” restaurant surprised me with their own version of the “impossible burger.”

Almost every restaurant has a version of this burger. It’s an attempt to make a guilt-free and tasty burger without that pesky beef.

I ordered the burger with a side of fries. I honestly should stop ordering sides of fries, it’s defeating the purpose of this diet.

The burger resembled the advertisement, which was a relief and a surprise. Usually they come smashed in the packaging, but this burger was fantastic. I requested it with most the condiments off, and opted for ketchup and mustard instead. Simple, but they backed up the patty well.


With Denny’s being famous for its breakfast food I decide to order from that menu, rather than any lunch or dinner options.

Normally oatmeal is a boring dish on its own but I decided to spice it up by ordering a side of fruit and brown sugar to mix in. Sliced apples paired well with the oatmeal, brightening the palate.

Although I decided to play it safe with this restaurant, for those looking to relax before class or just somewhere to grab a simple vegan breakfast I suggest going to Denny’s.

S&B Burger Joint

S&B Burger Joint is an ’80s Rock themed burger joint located in University Mall.

The restaurant resembles a cool sports bar. Riddled with TVs where music videos from the ’80s are played and walls are adorned with records people were enjoying their meals.

The menu was filled with food with cool names like the Frenchman, but once again I was more interested in their impossible burger.

I decided to order the impossible burger with a side of fries. The protein plant-based patty makes a good foundation for a burger with the usual lettuce, tomatoes and onions. Surprisingly my food arrived to the table pretty fast. The fries were crispy and the burger was decadent.

For now, if you really want to try out a lot of restaurants, maybe reconsider a vegan diet. I know I already am.

Staff reporter Farrah Blaydes can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @Farrah_Blaydes.

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