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To V or Not To V

Filed under: Food Restaurants
The menu at V.G. looks better than the exterior.

The menu at V.G. looks better than the exterior.

The Rocky Mountain News reports on two Colorado veg restaurants that choose to shuck the v-words from their menus and marketing in favor of, they say, a larger omni audience. Denver’s Watercourse Foods boasts a full menu of comfort food, without mention that it all happens to be vegetarian. The owner says that, for 80% of the restaurant’s customers, “the word vegan implies that it doesn’t taste as good.” And one of the owners of Boulder’s new vegan fast-food joint V.G. Burgers says that “the word vegan tends to scare people–and to exclude people.”

A little exclusion is fine by me now and again; I had to wait ten minutes for a table at Foodswings the other day. But at least I knew my sub-par chicken sandwich would be vegan; is it too optimistic to hope that vegans won’t have to ask if their food is vegan at vegan restaurants? Then again I’m happy to pull a vegan fast one on an omni any day. And to use the word vegan in this blog post more than necessary.

6 Comments

  1. Comment by

    sarah1

    on #

    I dont like this non-labelling. Here in the UK, well London to be more precise, we have ‘veggie/vegan friendly’ labels on many products and it saves scanning the back of the packets looking for dodgy E numbers and words you cant even understand without a PhD in chemistry.
    In regards to this story I dont like it. Its not like there restuarant is called ‘VEGANS ONLY’, or ‘Vegan Paradise’ or something similar, their problem is with putting a simple ‘V’ sign next to food, whats the big deal with that? I know many meat eaters and certainly veggies who would eat a meal with ‘V’ next to it if it looks nice. If someone is put of by having a ‘V’ sign next to an item of food on a menu then they are probably the sort of people who will not even bother going to a place like this preferring McDs.

  2. Comment by

    sarah1

    on #

    I cant edit my last post so ill add some more here-

    The owner says saying vegan puts people of, but surely by ommiting vegan from your own (hopefully) tasty vegan food you are just buying into keeping the level of vegans as some sort of tasteless food freak cult. If I did nice food that was vegan I would wear the ‘V’ next to it with a sort of pride- its tasty food and it also just happens to be vegan to. By not adding a ‘V’ to any of their food they are just continuing to perpetrate such myths as the owner said.

  3. Comment by

    Alex

    on #

    I think we should distinguish between labeling something as vegan and advertising it as such. I’m personally happy with them not marketing the restaurants as vegan or vegetarian if they think that’ll get more people to eat their food, as long as when people go in and eat there’re assurances that the food actually is vegan or vegetarian. It doesn’t have to be a big neon sign, but a little italicized sentence at the bottom of the menu saying “all menu items suitable for vegans” or something like that would be good. There should be some restaurants around where we don’t have to ask.

  4. Comment by

    Alex

    on #

    As Sarah1 said, though, it does perpetuate the vegan = icky myth. Little personal story, I was tabling for an animal rights group I’m in, handing out vegan cookies among other things. I was having a mini-version of this dilemma myself. But I had several people turn away, and one actually refuse to try the cookie when I said beforehand that it was vegan. If there were some way these restaurants could lure people in, have them try the food, and then tell them it was vegan. Like in a fortune cookie or something, “Surprise! Your meal was vegan!”

  5. Comment by

    sarah1

    on #

    I find it very strange someone would not eat something solely because its vegan, whether they are veggie or not, but I suppose people like this (who I have found make up a small minority) will be the sort

  6. Comment by

    sarah1

    on #

    of people who would rush into the local McDs somewhere rather than try a local cafe. Some people are very hard to get through to, others impossible, and I suppose it is these people that go ‘urgh nasty vegan food’ (when probably thinking ‘um that soup does look nice though’), in turn these restuarant owners are prepetrating such a myth of nasty food= vegan food, when, as I previously said, if their food is of good quality it shouldnt matter if a small ‘V’ appears next to it, although maybe in the US it is different from the UK.

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