I had a thought in a thread elsewhere.

In the US about 1.4% of people are vegan, around 3.5-4% vegetarian. Numbers are higher in other countries but still definitely in the single digits. Steakhouses always have a chicken and/or fish option and a veg option. Seafood houses have a chicken and/or steak option and a veg option. Every place has some sort of veg option, including my local sailing dive bar.

Why don’t we expect vegan/veg restaurants to have a meat option? Where is the fairness?


Because we know the owners are nasty, narrow-minded people who do not care about the needs of the wider population.

Sufficiently provocative to get us started?


Nothing compels a restaurant to have vegetarian options, but they choose to for the sake of making it possible for people with different needs/restrictions to eat together.

Some places can’t do it, but many try to accommodate, especially since omnivores have the ability to eat the vegetarian/ vegan options. It’s not that people who eat meat are obligate carnivores, like cats.

A restaurant that chooses to cater to vegetarians and vegans does not have to serve meat to the omnivore guest because the omnivore can likely eat things from the menu. Whether they want to is another matter. But that’s not the restaurant’s problem nor should they be obligated to make purchases for meals that are unlikely to be eaten at their place.

But should I really have to explain this? It seems that as Harters noted, this is more a provocation to a fight than a genuine question.


As with elite eateries serving multi-course meals comprised of two bites of tweezer food on giant plates, there’s always the option of a hot dog or a slice on the way home.

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As I age, and my palate has to adapt to what my body can accommodate in terms of food stuffs, I lean more and more on vegetarian options when we eat in restaurants. I’m always amazed at the amount of food presented to me, as if they are compensating for something.


OK, Dave, serious answer now.

It is exactly as Hunterwali describes. A business runs itself to make the required profit. An owner may well have belief systems that preclude selling certain things, such as meat. Or it may be that their Islamic beliefs preclude alcohol. Or their Jewish faith precludes serving pork. Or Hindus may not wish to offer beef.

By the by, I am fortunate to live in an area where we have some good quality South Asian restaurants. Two are entirely vegetarian and third entirely vegan. The first two are on our “regular visit” list (or will be again in due course). The third we’ve tried but didnt enjoy the meal enough to return - a shame really as it’s within walking distance of home.

A restaurant does not have to be all things to all people. And the customer isn’t always right.


I love that. And seafood restaurants usually have a meat option too. Maybe they feel if the meat option would poison the veges?

Just perfect. Payment to follow. grin

You mean you expect me to eat LENTILS?

Points for use of the word “obligate.”

Not my intent. It was the confluence of a rant on r/ChefIt in Reddit about fussy, elitist, demanding customers that received rousing support from the professional cooking community with a week of news reports that boil down to “if we assume ‘A’ then we can conclude ‘A’” which is soul-destroying to my scientific rigor. Or rigour, as the case may be.

…or since veg options are readily available at omnivore-catering restaurants, the answer is to meet one’s friends at the more inclusive option.

I find it interesting that a small minority of the population in most Western countries drives accommodation but does not reciprocate. Where is the accommodation for lactose intolerance, for example? Those numbers are much higher than veg. But no – “let’s just stick butter on everything.” Have you heard what BOH has to say about customer requests for modifications? It’s brutal.

Or simply entitled elitism? Or elitist entitlement?

I remember scouring menus to help a veg friend when we hung out at the local sailing dive bar. We decided to just not talk about the fact that the French fries shared oil with crab cakes, or the baked potato was “baked” in a microwave. The vegetable tray came with bacon Ranch dip (the staff was nice enough to ignore us bringing our own). I’ll add we went there because my friend wanted to, for the character of the place. Not ambience - it didn’t rise to that level.

Maybe I’ll just pack my own corned beef sandwich the next time I’m backed into a corner and must go somewhere that wants to feed me LENTILS. grin

This is similar to accommodating any minority eating habit. Doesnt matter what it is , or why it is but, let’s face it, it’s a pain in the arse.

All but one of our close family will happily eat anything put in front of them. They are a joy to cook for. The “one” doesnt eat red meat. So, on any family gathering at home, there’s a consideration to be sorted out. Do you cook something specific for the “one” or do you cook that same dish for everyone, knowing that the “one” will be able to eat it, as will everyone else. And, if the former, it’s not just cooking for the “one”, it’s making sure the accompaniments also work for whatever everyone else is eating. It is perhaps no surprise that, in general, the extended Harters family now prefer to eat out for family occasions rather than cook in.

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I ssupect that this may be a genuine consideration for owners of vegetarian restaurants. If they had a meat option on the menu, how might that be reviewed by the general vegetarian customer base. They might well wonder about the prospect of “contamination”.

By the by, Dave, my spicy lentil burgers are a wonder to behold. They’ve been putting in a periodic appearance at Casa Harters for a couple of decades now.

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This I believe is the root of the accommodation problem. We have a relative with a self-diagnosed citrus allergy. Refuses to discuss with a doctor. So most of the family accommodates her and eschews all citrus. I patently refuse. I just point out what I’ve cooked that she can and cannot eat. It’s like feeding a petulant child. The tyranny of the minority (volume does not equate to entitlement) does not stand at Chez Auspicious.

On the other hand, the majority can be tyrants also. All voices must be heard. It’s awkward.

I think part of what bugs me with respect to veg restaurants, at least in the US, is the sense of moral superiority. It makes me really want to bring my own corned beef sandwich. I’ll pay the corkage fee.


For those with seafood allergies this is very literally a life or death question.

BOH gets more pissed about serving allergens to people who have clearly communicated that they have an issue. Doubly when FOH deem themselves allergists who get to decide who’s allergic and who’s not.

I still dont get the hate. If you dont want to eat the vegan offering, dont. If you dont want to visit an vegan restaurant, don’t.

But if you dont like vegans throwing shade because you eat meat, then dont throw shade because someone decides to eat plant based. They dont owe anyone an explanation…any more than an omni owes an explanation to a vegan.

If it ain’t your money and it ain’t your mouth, you dont get an opinion.

I’m am still not a vegan, btw…but I order it if it sounds good (and my lactose-phobic belly agrees).


I try not to quote big long pieces of posts. Personal foible. You have a lot of good points.

The issue with allergens is the self-diagnosed Food Babe “Karens” in the world. Commercial kitchens (well - the good ones) don’t just avoid ingredients - they have to scrub prep and cooking surfaces when an allergy is declared. If you don’t think/know that people lie you are a more kind hearted person with a better life experience than I. I’ve seen on multiple occasions people declare an allergy and then order something with the allergen in the title of the dish. “Oh, it’ll be fine” is just…just…diabolical.

I’m not offering hate. I see hypocrisy. I’ll point out that the more inclusive omnivore restaurants are offering veg options, but the veg restaurants don’t reciprocate. Sure it’s a choice, and the analogies of Kosher, Halal, and Hindi are apropos. Perhaps my life experience is limited, but I have not seen the moral superiority of the veg community in the various religious communities with dietary restrictions. You wouldn’t expect that.

I’ll also point out that the lactose intolerant have to cope with a lot, especially in restaurants where butter is a key ingredient. The numbers of people who are lactose intolerant is huge - an order of magnitude or more above those who choose veg, and lactose intolerance is not a choice. Where is the accommodation for that? Where is the consistency? Where is the fairness?

I think you’re suffering from east coast manic hysteria.
I detect none of your theoretical problems here on god’s chosen coast, the west one.


Ah. The land of fruit, berries, and twigs. grin

What ever will you do when Oregon declares meat unacceptable? Like when Indiana passed a law to make pi equal to 3?

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We love :heart: meat in Oregon. We’re just cool with others’ choices in life.
Like Marlo declared, free to be you and me. :smiley:


Because they have no interest in attracting a clientele that would ask that question. And who can blame them?


Because unlike “omnivore” restaurants, many vegetarian/vegan restaurants are not only just about food choices, but lifestyle choices and, more importantly, they cater to a clientele with that mindset.

In other words, many (not all, of course) vegan restaurants and vegans decide to forgo animal products because of social, environmental, and/or religious beliefs, which means having a carnivore option on the menu would essentially run counter to the very quiddity of the restaurant and the clientele it is trying to serve.

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I dunno. Guns. Gas cooking. Lots of discussion about intestinal gas from livestock.