Never to Meat Again

| by Allana Wooley | photography by Alex Lepe |

It used to be, when you told someone you were a vegan or vegetarian, the news would be received with a pitying sigh. Not anymore. As these lifestyle choices have grown in popularity over the past decade, restaurants have been quick to see the potential for exciting new food creations. Nowadays it’s nearly impossible to find a restaurant that doesn’t have a vegan or vegetarian option. In fact, there are several Cowtown eateries going way beyond the salad bar in their vegan/vegetarian menus.

Spiral Diner (spiraldiner.com; 1314 W. Magnolia; 817.332.8834), of course, is the quintessential example of a vegan-friendly restaurant. Open since 2002, this popular spot offers the classic diner experience—minus a moo or two. Comfort food like the Jamaican Jerk Sandwich, Seitan Wrap, milkshakes and pancakes fill out the menu. An added bonus is Spiral’s vegan-only menu, making ordering a stress-free endeavor.

But what to do if you’re planning lunch with meat-loving friends? Surprising as it may seem, Dutch’s (dutchshamburgers.com; 3009 S. University Drive; 817.927.5522) ensures that no one, regardless of his or her dietary restrictions, is unable to indulge in a thick, juicy burger. The Portobello Veggie Burger features a huge, marinated Portobello mushroom piled high with vegetables and neighbored by crispy tots, fries and rings. Dutch’s also happily substitutes a veggie patty onto every burger on its menu.

Going beyond the burger, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that any place capable of creatively mixing Asian and Mexican cuisine can also come up with a fully realized and delicious vegan/vegetarian menu. Mijo’s Fusion (mijostx.com; 1109 W. Magnolia Ave.; 817.921.3905) recent expansion of its menu includes an entire page of vegan/vegetarian friendly options—including the Vegetarian Avocado Poblano Quesadilla, Thai-inspired Indian Bowl and the Vegan Enchiladas.

But when the menu doesn’t clearly specify whether an item is vegan or vegetarian, it can be a struggle to figure out what you can or can’t eat. Mellow Mushroom (mellowmushroom.com/store/fort-worth; 3455 Blue Bonnet Circle; 817.207.9677) takes the homework out of the dining experience—it has a nifty Special Diets Wizard on its website that allows one to quickly tap in his or her eating parameters and look at the plethora of choices still open. Mellow Mushroom’s menu model gives customers the power to customize and the freedom to be vegan.

Following this philosophy of giving the customer the choice, Salata (salata.com; 520 Commerce St.; 817.885.7720) is doing its best to change salad’s bad-word status. Although vegans and vegetarians have a world of food options, there is no reason not to enjoy a salad or wrap every now and then—especially when the options are made endless with Salata’s unlimited vegetables, fruits, nuts and cheeses.

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