Dining out with a vegetarian or vegan and enjoying it
n a recent Saturday, we were invited for a casual lunch with a couple of friends. We thought, “Sure,” and asked where to meet up. As per usual, we couldn’t decide where to go, so we asked for a call back when the restaurant had been chosen.
We were not looking forward to that call. Deciding on where to eat with a bunch of omnivores when you are the only vegan can be a lonely process.
Which dining establishment was chosen? Without revealing the name, let’s just say that it was a popular establishment serving healthy portions of succulent barbecued, fried and grilled meats.
And when we asked if there was anything on the menu to satisfy our non-meat-eating palate, we were presented with that careless reply, so annoying to so many vegans and vegetarians: “I’m sure they have salad.”
Seriously? Salad? So, we’re supposed to watch you decide between a variety of 10-plus different omnivorous appetizers and entrees … as we are condemned to … a side salad as a meal?
The problem isn’t that there are no places to eat vegetarian or vegan—there are. But who’s serving veg that is so yummy that non-veggie purists will eat it … and is served in a restaurant that is not necessarily a vegan or vegetarian establishment. Even more to the point, where can plant-based or vegetarian diners eat in harmony at the same table with omnivores without worrying about plant-based diner’s anxiety of there being nothing suitable on the menu at all.
The worry is over. We’ve created an easy-to-use guide of Arkansas restaurants that offers delicious choices for vegetarians, vegans and omnivores—all under one roof. Read this guide and afterward, call up a bunch of your omnivore friends—and go enjoy a harmoniously delicious meal together!
The Farmer’s Table
1079 S School Avenue
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 7 a.m.-3 p.m.; Friday and Saturday,
5 p.m.-9 p.m.
Fare: Exploring the tastes of the Ozarks with “fresh, comfortable foods that are healthy for bodies and the local economy.”
Vegan/Veggie Tip: We have vegan breakfast lunch and dinner options. Desserts vary, but there’s often a vegan option. We often win awards for “best vegetarian” as well.
481 S School Avenue
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (brunch); 5 p.m.-9 p.m. (dinner)
Fare: Fresh, locally sourced ingredients come together to create a unique dining experience. Our seasonally inspired menu has something for everyone.
Vegan/Veggie Tip: We are often voted “best vegetarian” by many publications. This being said, we also serve lots of protein.
10 Center Street
Hours: Wednesday and Thursday, 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5p.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday 5 p.m.-9 p.m.
Fare: Determined to find pleasure in a straightforward selection of appetizers, entrees and desserts. Chef Slane employs common ingredients in unexpected ways for a streamlined menu of seasonally inspired dishes.
Vegan/Veggie Tip: We don’t really cater to veggies, but we do love them! We have may different options for veggie-lovers. We are very hands-on in making customers feel as if they are the only ones in the room. Our passion is giving everyone the same dining experience. We want customers to enjoy our menu, whatever the eating restrictions.
200 NE A Street
Hours: Breakfast: Monday-Friday, 6:30 a.m.-10 a.m.; Saturday 7 a.m.-10:30 a.m.; Sunday 7 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Brunch: Saturday-Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Dinner Sunday-Thursday 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m.
Fare: Located in Bentonville’s new 21c Museum Hotel, The Hive showcases the unique culinary identity of Arkansas, paying tribute to the High South while articulating Chef Matthew McClure’s approach to refined country cuisine.
Vegan/Veggie Tip: After the chef moved back to Arkansas and rediscovered the bounty of amazing produce grown here, he wanted vegetables to play a more prominent role on the menu, introducing vegetarian and vegan, or vegetarian- and vegan-adaptable appetizers and entrees.
La Terraza Rum and Lounge
3000 Kavanaugh Boulevard
Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; 5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Vegan/Veggie Tip: Our new menu has sections that note if it can be prepared vegan or vegetarian upon request. We can create a menu item on the fly to accommodate a dietary restriction.
Loca Luna and Southern Bistro
3519 Old Cantrell Road
Hours: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Dinner Sunday-Thursday. 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 5:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m.; Brunch Sunday, 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.
Fare: A bold Southern neighborhood bistro.
Vegan/Veggie Tip: We can modify some items on the menu to make them vegetarian.
Lost Forty Brewing
501 Byrd Street
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Fare: Know what goes really well with beer? Beer food. Get some.
Vegan/Veggie Tip: We are currently featuring our Seasonal Produce Salad, which showcases local fruit currently in season with arugula, house-made sorghum and black pepper pecans from Hardin Farms, goat cheese crumbles, with house-made caramelized fig and sherry vinaigrette dressing.
Lulu’s Latin Rotisserie and Grill
315 N Bowman Road, Suite 2
Hours: Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday 1 a.m.-3 p.m. for lunch only; Thursday, Friday, Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. for lunch and dinner. Closed on Mondays.
Fare: Providing affordable, fresh, Latin American-inspired dishes in an atmosphere that is suitable for families, as well as couples who want a cool, different type of place to go on a date night.
Vegan/Veggie Tip: We have a lot of dishes that are vegan and contain no dairy. We can hold the cheese from salads and make minor changes to dishes, too.
11401 N Rodney Parham Road
The Pantry Crest
722 N. Palm Street
Fare: The Pantry and Pantry Crest offer Czech and German classics as well as delightful appetizers, burgers, salads and flatbreads, along with award-winning desserts.
Vegan/Veggie Tip: We offer a lot of vegetarian appetizers and entrees at both Pantry locations. We are also happy to accommodate just about any request that any guest would have, whether dietary or allergies.
133 Washington Street
Hours: (Dinner Only) Coal Room: Tuesday-Saturday, 5 p.m.-9 p.m.; Dining Room: Friday-Saturday, 5 p.m.-9 p.m. or by reservation Tuesday-Thursday.
Fare: Amazing selection of tantalizing appetizers, salads and extraordinary contemporary American cuisine.
Vegan/Veggie Tip: More than half our appetizers are vegetarian and at least another half could be varied to be vegetarian. We are a scratch kitchen and many times we get requests for vegetarian and vegan meals. With some advance notice, we can do just about anything. Our chef enjoys the challenge!
Red Door Restaurant
3701 Cantrell Road
Hours: Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Monday, 5 p.m.-9 p.m.; Tuesday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; 5 p.m.-9 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; 5 p.m.-10 p.m.;
Fare: Red Door features a menu offering a delicious mixture of grilled meats, steaks, fresh seafood, hearty soups, creative salads and fabulous appetizers and desserts.
Vegan/Veggie Tip: We can modify some items on the menu to make them vegetarian.
1500 S Main Street
Hours: Monday-closed; Tuesday, 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Wednesday, 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.; Thursday, 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.; Friday, 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m.-2 p.m. (breakfast all day).
Fare: We firmly believe that it’s because we source locally that our food is so delicious. It makes us feel great that The Root supports local Arkansas farmers and producers that we know and love.
Vegan/Veggie Tip: Most of our vegetarian dishes can also be made vegan. We do excellent vegan variations of the Banh Mi Sandwich, the Shiitake Mushroom Burger and the Seasonal House Salad. Also, our delicious sweet potato fries are always vegetarian, and are vegan if served with a side of vegan spicy mayo.
Three Fold Noodles and Dumpling Co.
215 Center Street
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Fare: All our vegetarian options—main course, sides, and desserts—are actually vegan. They’re completely free of dairy, egg, and animal by-product. You cannot find the same vegetarian dumplings we serve anywhere else in the state or nation.
Tusk & Trotter American Brasserie
110 SE A Street
Hours: Monday 4 p.m.-9:30 p.m.; Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Fare: Located a block off “The Square” in Downtown Bentonville, Tusk & Trotter has a casual atmosphere featuring local produce when possible and shifts seasonally to accentuate available ingredients.
Vegan/Veggie Tip: Many guests assume that we have limited vegan and vegetarian options due to our focus on charcuterie. However, our chef is very active in the local produce market, and often creates beautiful vegetarian and vegan dishes.
The Venetian Dining Room
Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa
239 Central Avenue
Hours: Monday-Sunday, breakfast 9 a.m.-10 a.m.; lunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; dinner 5:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Fare: The Venetian Dining Room is famous for its Friday Night Seafood Feast and award-winning Sunday Brunch served in old-world ambiance.
Vegan/Veggie Tip: We do prepare vegetarian entrees upon request and will alter ingredients in a dish on our menu to make it vegetarian. We will alter ingredients in a dish on our menu to make it vegan if we are able, and
if the meat or dairy product is not an essential part of the recipe.
By Audrey Coleman :: Photography by Meredith Mashburn
Main photo :: Bentonville’s Tusk and Trotter American Brasserie’s artisans cheese and fruit board. While not on the menu, it is available upon request. Cheeses and fruits change seasonally.