Eating Vegetarian At: Wally's Gyros

I have been to Wally’s Gyros a few times as a vegetarian, and while the selection is not very big, it is a pretty good restaurant altogether. Just going to get that out there because their score isn’t going to be very high. It is a small restaurant, situated in Hammond, Indiana.

Critiquing a restaurant that specializes in meat, like Gyros often tend to do, or hamburgers, might not seem to make much sense to the outsider, but this isn’t a review of how bad the restaurant is, it is simply a review of their menu and whether or not they carry options for a specific eating style, which in this case is Vegetarianism. So without further ado:

Wally’s has a few sides which are good for vegetarians, of which includes:

  • Fried Battered Okra
  • Fried Battered Mushrooms
  • French Fries
  • Onion Rings
  • Jalapeno Poppers
  • Cole Slaw
  • Cheese Sticks
  • Garden Salad (Comes with cheese, but might be able to request it without it)
  • Nachos and Cheese

Out of all of those, there is only one vegan option, and those are, of course, the french fries.

They do have fish as well, for those of you who are Pesceterians.

I did call the restaurant in order to get further information, and the kind lady on the phone did let me know that the oil they use to fry with is indeed vegetable oil. Which is good, because as someone who once worked for Rally’s, I am glad that many places are frying their foods in things other than Lard or Tallow.

For vegetarian options there does seem to be a good variety when it comes to lacto-vegetarianism. For vegans or for those who cannot consume dairy, like usual, there is not that many options. Also, just as a reminder, most battered foods do contain egg products in them, so be aware of that if you want to order them as a veggie option.

A thing they can do to help would be to add a vegetarian gyro or burger option, and add more sides, like maybe steamed broccoli or something like that. But for a gyro restaurant, what they have really isn’t that bad.

Eating Vegetarian At: Culver's

Culver’s is a fast food burger joint that I personally never been to, although they have restaurants situated all over the US, mainly in Wisconson, Illinois, and Minnesota. I have yet to hear anything bad about this place, so let’s dive into the menu and see what I would be able to eat as a vegetarian if I went.

Vegetarian:

  • Fries
  • Cheese Curds
  • Onion Rings
  • Green Beans (made with butter)
  • Dinner Roll (Contains a small amount of Eggs)
  • Cheese and Broccoli Soup
  • Garden Fresco Salad (Cheese)
  • Side Salad (Cheese)
  • Veggie Patty? (Apparently it is not listed on the menu but many Culver’s have one)

Vegan Choices:

  • Fries

As a warning, the Gravy in the Mashed Potatoes and Gravey is made with beef shortening, and the Cauliflower and Cheese soup is made with Bacon Fat, as does the Au Gratin Potato soup, and the Wisconson Cheese soup. The Stuffed Green Pepper soup has beef crumbles in it. Always be wary of foods that look as if they might be vegetarian, because most of the time they do contain small amounts of meat in it, usually in the form of fats or broths. Which I understand, but it is still rather inconvenient,

They have a fair amount of choices if you are a lacto-vegetarian, I personally would enjoy eating here because of the cheese and broccoli soup. Although it does have a fair amount of fat, especially Saturated Fat, it also has a large amount of protein at 10 grams, and fairly small amount of calories, at 220. But when it comes to vegan, or even ovo-vegetarian options, you are again out of luck.

Most fast food restaurants that have meat-free options do cater more towards Lacto-vegetarians than any other group of vegetarian, and it does make sense in the long run, because most vegetarians still consume dairy, especially newer vegetarians that might not be too keen just yet on kicking the cheese habit.

Eating Vegetarian At: Round The Clock

Round the Clock is a Northwest Indiana/ SouthEast Chicago based breakfast-style restaurant. It is not very widespread at all, but I will make this list in order to try to help people who want a quick way of getting a vegetarian option here. Since they don’t have an allergen chart I am forced to go by simply what the menu tells me what is in it. So if I say something is vegetarian when it isn’t, please correct me, and provide me with a source.

To get started on the list:

  • Spinach Omelette
  • Garden Skillet
  • Most of their Pancakes, one comes with side of meat
  • Crepes
  • French Toast
  • Waffles

For  Breakfast sides they have:

  • French Toast
  • Mini Pancakes
  • American Potatoes
  • English Muffin
  • Croissant
  • Egg
  • Oatmeal
  • Toast and Jelly

Non-breakfast:

  • Grecian Salad
  • Mozzarella Sticks
  • Grilled Cheese

Non-Breakfast Sides

  • French Fries
  • Waffle Fries
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Baked Potato rice
  • Coleslaw
  • Tomato Slices
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Potato Wedges
  • Sweet Potato
  • Sweet Potato Fries
  • Rice
  • Onion Rings
  • Mac and Cheese

They do have some fish options as well for those of you who are Pescaterian, and they include:

  • Tilapia
  • Scrod
  • Catfish
  • Shrimp
  • Perch

I got all of this information off of their online menu, but be careful. The menu is a bit iffy, they list Dinner sides 3 different times with different items on each, so I am not too sure whether or not I trust the website. I did send Round the Clock an E-mail asking for a list in their own words about what is vegetarian or vegan, and I am waiting for a reply there, but there is nothing I can do about that but wait.

Judgeing from what I have read, however, it has quite a few vegetarian options to choose from fir both breakfast as well as dinner. So if I am going for lunch, or dinner, I can get some waffle fries, mashed potatoes, and a grilled cheese, and that’d be awesome for me.

Sadly they don’t seem to have too many ovo-vegetarian or vegan options. Like most restaurants who cater to vegetarians, most of it is Lacto-ovo-vegetarian. Which isn’t bad, but it leaves out many vegetarians.

Eating Vegetarian At: Whataburger

This is a burger place, so vegetarian options are not going to be very widespread. The good news is that they use a form of vegetable oil, which I believe is Soybean oil, so you don’t have to worry about your hashbrowns being fried in pig fat.

One thing I really like about Whataburger is that they have a kind of veggie burger. You can go into the store and simply ask for them to swap the meat patty with hashbrowns, making a potato burger! The only issue I have with potato burgers, besides the fact that it is deep fried, is the lack of available protein in it. The whole burger would only have about 3-4 grams of protein in it for the entire sandwich, which is OK if you get your protein from other sources, but not if this is a significant meal of the day. So you’ll have to eat ore beans later in the day in order to meet your protein intake requirements.

What can you eat here as a Vegan? Well:

  • Veggie Burger (Might have trace amounts of animal products)
  • Hashbrowns (Breakfast Only)
  • French Fries
  • Apple Slices

That menu is not very large, but does contain a burger that is either vegan or extremely close to being vegan. In terms of vegetarian options you got a lot more options, including:

  • Egg Sandwich (Breakfast only)
  • Egg and Cheese Biscuit (B)
  • Biscuit (B)
  • Pancakes (B)
  • Hashbrowns (B)
  • Veggie Burger
  • Grilled Cheese
  • French Fries
  • Onion Rings
  • Side Salad
  • Apple Slices

Now while this list isn’t very big in terms of variety, they do indeed have options. They are only a southern fast food restaurant, so you are really not going to find any in the north, sadly, because I would not mind trying out that veggie burger myself, oh well.

Eating Vegetarian At: Schoops

To start this off, I do not know what kind of oil that Schoops uses. But judging by the taste, it’s vegetable oil. If I find out anything else on this I will post it here. 

Schoops is a Chicago-Based old-style hamburger chain. The feel is rustic and pretty awesome, so I like to occasionally eat out there.

In terms of vegetarian options, you are rather limited. And extremely limited when it comes to Vegan options, although they do exist. For vegans you can order:

  • Garden Salad
  • Fries

Of course. Many hamburger places always stick to the trope of only providing these two staples for anyone who doesn’t eat meat. For instance; McDonalds and Burger King (Although Mcdonald’s Fries have Beef Seasoning). However, for vegetarians, you got:

  • Fries
  • Salad
  • Onion Rings
  • Cheese Fries
  • Grilled Cheese
  • Fried Egg Sandwich
  • Egg Salad Sandwich
  • Egg Salad Plate
  • And in ONLY A FEW Schoops, a Morningstar Veggie Burger.

It sucks how some Schoops have the veggie burger and others do not, but there is no use in whining about that. They also have some options for Pescaterians as well, including:

  • Tuna Melt
  • Fish sandwich
  • Tuna Salad Sandwich
  • Tuna Salad Plate

So a little bit of something for everyone! Although the Menu does seem to vary slightly based on which restaurant you enter, so always call ahead if you are looking forward to a very specific item.

I like how Schoops has plenty of good vegetarian options for people who are either Lacto-ovo, Lacto, or Ovo. Sadly there isn’t more vegetables on the list, so only come here if you want a more junk-foody kind of night out. Otherwise the options seem pretty OK.

More vegan options would definitly be enjoyed, but since it is a burger joint, one should not expect too much in the terms of veggie options.

Eating Vegetarian At: Panda Express

Panda Express is the Asian version of what Taco Bell is to Mexico, totally not authentic at all! But everyone loves Panda Express just the same despite that, sadly there is none in my area or I would frequent it more often for some more Tofu goodness (I love it when other people make Tofu, I just can’t do it justice). The one thing I like about Asian-style cuisine is how much of it is more plant-based in nature, for example, from what I can see, pure vegan items at Panda Express include:

  • Chow Mein
  • Steamed Rice
  • Mixed Vegetables (?)
  • Country Style Bean Curd
  • Hot Szechuan Tofu
  • Eggplant Tofu

While as a comparison, Lacto-ovo vegetarian have some options too, which include:

  • Fried Rice
  • Egg Roll

But if you don’t like eggs, or are just a Lacto-Vegetarian, there are options for you as well, including:

  • Chow Fun
  • Cream Cheese Rangoon
  • Veggie Spring Roll
  • Fortune Cookies

There are no products on the list for simply Ovo-vegetarians.

And even for the Pescaterians they have shrimp and some fish dishes. I added a (?) next to the mixed vegetables because the Allergen guide claims that the mixed vegetables contain milk, but the ingrediants listed only mention steamed vegetables. So… there MIGHT be a milk product in there somewhere? But since it has less than 1 gram of fat which comes from the vegetables, I think the fact that they listed it at all is a fluke.

I really like the large selection of veggie-friendly foods that Panda express has

Eating Vegetarian At: Buffalo Wild Wings

I have rarely ever eaten at Buffalo Wild Wings in my life, in fact, I don’t remember if I ever have. I do know that I used to live by them a lot when I was little, so there is that.

Buffalo Wild Wings is not a restaurant that you would ever even expect to have any vegetarian options, but shockingly enough, it has a couple … a couple… meaning that anyone who is a lacto-ovo vegetarian will be happy, but vegan? not so much.

To start off, they have a black bean burger patty, but it isn’t vegan. For some reason they thought it necessary to add in dairy and egg into it. So this is one food item that only marginally goes into their favor. Other options include:

  • Side Salad (Has Dairy in it)
  • Cole Slaw (Eggs)
  • Veggie Boat (Ranch Dip)

And aside from a few desserts, that’s about it. There are no vegan menu options aside from Mandarin Oranges for kids and a soft pretzel. They do have fries, onion rings, and tortilla chips, but neither of those are vegetarian because they are cooked in beef fat, which is something I never understood why fast food companies did, as many fast food companies do that, including Checkers and Popeyes.

The inclusion of a black bean burger was pretty cool, but it means little if it still contains massive amounts of animal products.

Then again, it’s not like I would expect too much more from a burger joint that runs on the sale of slathering as many animal products as possible into a plate, like Arby’s, Burger King, and Checker’s. This is not one of those places where a vegetarian or vegan is likely to go, but if you ever did, it’s good to know very few options are available.