Parents Just Don’t Understand

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Cruelty Free
I'm so glad that I won't have to eat next to any cows or chickens in this establishment. Phew! Oh, wait...

It took my parents a good four years to accept my veganism. I’ve been vegan for six years. While they’re okay with me bringing my own food to events they are a little more reluctant to explore vegan food outside of the home themselves. Every now and then I’ll get them to try some nooch cheese or vegan cookies, but that’s pretty much it. Anything more might blow their sheltered, suburban minds (love you parents!).

So, whenever there is a celebration of some sort, we end up going to a lot of meat-heavy chain restaurants that have the ONE acceptable, slightly nutritious vegan option, which gets old really fast. I did get them to try Nu Age Café once, before it closed. That was fairly successful, but maybe that was because not everything was completely vegan? Since then, however I’ve only been able to get them to go to omni restaurants. They aren’t changing. I’m not changing. What’s a vegan girl to do?

To persuade them to go to places with more vegan friendly options, I’ve compiled a list of Austin area restaurants that will be parent and grandparent friendly without making you eat an iceberg wedge salad (Seriously. Serve me a wedge salad and I will fight you.). You can also go to these places if you want to impress a certain special someone.

Arlo’s
A vegan fast food style trailer with a Bacon Cheeseburger to die for. If your parents are willing to eat a vegan meal, and dine al fresco, Arlo’s is well worth it. The burgers are so good that they won’t even miss the meat.

Clay Pit
Delicious Indian food with a fine dining vibe. If your parents are adventurous eaters, you should take them here. The atmosphere is cozy and there are plenty of dishes to satisfy every palate.

El Chile
Are you a fan of margaritas and/or mojitos? Are you comfortable drinking in front of your parents? Then this is your place. Plan on consuming most of your calories in liquid form.

Fino/Asti
Mediterranean fine dining with a beautiful patio. I just heard about this one, so I can’t speak from experience, but I hear that they have some great options.

Kerbey Lane Cafe
24-hour cafe with a cute atmosphere, and many locations around the city. Parents will enjoy the classic diner menu, while you peruse their vegan options (ask for a vegan menu).

Maudie’s
Vegan and gluten free Tex-Mex. They even have gluten-free chips that they will bring out to you in sealed bags. There ain’t no gluten getting in there.

P.F. Chang’s 
Semi-fancy Asian fusion. Forget tacos. They’ve have lettuce rolls. And they’re vegan. Bam! Now see what happens when your parents tell you not to play with your food. Yes, it’s a chain, but it’s a chain with reliable vegan options.

Uchi + Uchiko
If your parents are made of money, and love swanky Japanese food, make them take you here. There are a few vegan items on the menu, but, if you ask nicely, the chefs will most likely whip up some amazing vegan options on the fly.

So, the next time you have a birthday or your parents come into town for a visit, you’ll have a list ready as soon as someone asks, “Where should we go to eat?” They can go to an ostensibly hippy-free restaurant and, if you’re spoiled like me, they’re probably paying so you get a free dinner. It’s win/win.

6 comments

  1. Neesha

    I’ve been to most of these with omni colleagues. May I suggest also Curra’s! One of my favorites and always a hit with the omnis.

  2. Carrie

    Great piece! Thanks for putting this together! Will pass on to other vegans and to the GSC for use in planning where to take visitors.

    I advise against the northwest Kerbey location up on 183. In my experience they are, at best, hit-or-miss. And every time I’ve been there with a large party, they have committed at least one serious screw-up. I pretty much only go to the one off 38th, as I’ve found that one the most reliable.

    I really want to try Uchi and Uchiko! Tyson Cole, the executive chef at Uchi, is widely regarded as among the best in the country, and his protege, Paul Qui, who runs Uchiko, just won this season of Top Chef. He was one of my favorite chefs this season – he was a really nice guy, and his food was creative, soulful, and beautiful. So cool that he’s in our town so I’ll actually have the chance to eat at his place without getting on a plane!

  3. Rebecca Gonzales

    Chef Ethan at Second Bar & Kitchen will put together an amazing vegan dish per your request. 5 times out of 10 it’s the best dinner at the table.

  4. Cassandra

    Neesha – Curra’s is great! I love their tamales.

    Carrie – I’m sorry to hear about your troubles at Kerbey Lane Northwest. I’ve had excellent service at the other locations. I usually go to the one on William Cannon.

  5. Rosa-Maria

    It took David’s dad 10 years (even after 2 heart attacks) to be accepting of him being vegan. I think he didn’t start really being okay with it until the kids came around and remained super healthy; they’ve been vegan their whole lives and eat worlds better (they actually eat vegetables!) than their omni cousin. Then David’s dad, who has been on Lipitor for ever and was insistent David get his cholesterol checked for genetic cholesterol issues, was blown away when his cholesterol levels were spectacular. When we eat out with them we tend to eat at sushi places or Zen. We don’t try and get them to eat vegan but have noticed over the years more vegetables on their plates and even an occasional willing foray into tofu.

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