Veg*n Dining in Lunenburg County (Or Lack Thereof..)
Giving up meat and most other animal products has proven to be easier and more rewarding that I even imagined it would be. But I must say, one thing that chaps my hide a little is the fact that few restaurants bother to offer much in the way of vegetarian options. Chances are, if you go out to dine at a restaurant in Lunenburg county with your family, you will find yourself limited to french fries and a salad.
If you happen to be going out for a pizza, you might fare a little better, as pizza is one option you can always get made “your way.” Our family does dine out a fair bit at Pizza Delight, as this is one place where the pizza is great and the service is exceptional. However, if you’re not up for a pizza, there is exactly one pasta on the menu that a vegetarian can eat. (And we’ve tried it, and it didn’t do anything for us.)
However, just about every other restaurant has basically forgotten about us vegetarians, and I think that is really short sighted of them. Not only are there quite a few veg-heads in this county whose business they are losing, there are also a lot of occasions when a lack of veg options causes a whole group of people to choose to go elsewhere.
Let me give you an example. My husband works on the weekends in a shop for trucks and other heavy-duty equipment. He works alongside a whole crew of other men, and frequently they like to send someone to town to bring back fast food for the whole crew. Even though Bob is the only vegetarian in the group, they only want to make one stop for food, so by default all restaurants that don’t offer veggie burgers are immediately out of the running. Sorry Arby’s. Sorry Wendy’s. Sorry McDonalds and Waves and Guppy’s and Boston Pizza. They lose out on a lot of business every weekend, and for what? How hard is it, really, to have a box of veggie burgers in the freezer? In fact, we used to frequent restaurants like Guppy’s and Delongs about twice a month, as we live in New Germany, but now they lose that business for lack of anything we can eat. Our business, and the business of every friend and family member we want to take out to dinner with us.
What gets me the most about this situation is that is would be so darn easy for restaurants to offer veg options on their menus. For example, President’s Choice now offers boxes of Meatless Chicken Breasts at $12.99 for 8. That’s cheaper than real chicken, and they are hands-down AMAZING. How hard would it be for a business to offer to subsitute one of these “breasts” for a real one in one of their pre-existing chicken dishes? How hard would it be to have meatless beef strips to substitute in the fajitas, or to use soy hamburger in the chili? You can buy frozen veggie “chicken nuggets” and veggie “chicken burgers.” It wouldn’t be hard at all to have these options available, and I know that for a fact.
I was discussing this issue the other day with a co-worker of mine named Ken. Now, Ken is not a vegetarian, nor has any plans to be, but his adult daughter and her boyfriend are. This is an extanded family that likes to eat out, a lot, but they have to pick and choose where they dine based on where the veg options are, and he is as frustrated as I am at the apparent disregard local businesses have for potential vegetarian customers. I mean, we love to eat good food too! Why would a restaurant not choose to make a few simple changes to the menu and draw in this business?
The fact is, vegetarianism is a movement that is growing bigger every year. Each restaurant can choose to offer or not offer vegetarian options as they see fit, but I predict that the first establishment that chooses to step up and expand their veggie offerings will be rewarded in lots of business from lots of newly loyal customers, their families and their friends.
So that’s my rant. I just wanted to end it by getting the word out on a new offering by, of all places, KFC. It may not be well-advertised (in fact, you likely won’t even see it on the menu) but KFC has a new veggie burger combo, and it is Da Bomb.
It tastes so much like their classic chicken burger that it actually creeped me out a bit in the beginning. Although they still cook it in the same oil as the chicken, (so it isn’t perfect) it is wonderful of them to take the time and effort to develop this product, and I appreciate that. If you haven’t had a chance to try it, I highly recommend that you do. Those of us who appreciate having more options should put our money where our mouth is.