Lack of options leaves vegetarians in the cold

Though vegetarian options in general are lacking, SUB restaurant MooYah offers a vegetarian patty option for students along with more conventional options like beef and turkey patties.
Photo illustration by Ambika Kashi Singh | Lariat Photogapher

By Jordan Hearne
Staff Writer

Baylor’s on-campus dining offers a variety of choices, yet vegetarians and vegans may be underrepresented.

Brett Perlowski, director of dining services, said there are some vegetarian options, including the black bean burger at Mooyah Burgers, Fries and Shakes and a couple of sandwiches at Quiznos, as well as residential dining locations that have separate four-week cycle menus with customizable meals and salad bars.

“Memorial [dining hall] has a dedicated vegetarian station each day at lunch and dinner,” Perlowski said. “That location also serves veggie and black bean burgers off the grill to provide some variety.”

Even with this broad selection, stricter vegetarians or vegans could have trouble finding options.

Perlowski said “the strictly vegan options are a bit more limited with the use of dairy in some recipes,” even though residential dining stations allow students to pick their ingredients.

Nacogdoches junior Clint Trimble, who is a pescatarian — a vegetarian who also eats seafood — said his on-campus options feel limited. On an average day, Trimble can have eggs for breakfast and sushi for lunch to get protein, but other than that, he said there isn’t much variety.

“When you pay for a dining hall meal, you’re basically paying for a salad bar,” Trimble said. ”Compared to the normal price of just a salad bar, the price seems pretty high.”

Baylor is working to include vegetarian options in future on-campus areas by installing a Moe’s Southwest Grill and Which Wich in early November in the Baylor Sciences Building. Perlowski said both restaurants have multiple vegetarian options.

“I personally get a couple of requests each year [from vegetarians] and know there are certainly more customers that practice the lifestyle that don’t make their wishes known,” Perlowski said. “Our goal is always to try to provide the best program we can for our customers and their varied tastes and diets.”

Other colleges, such as the University of North Texas, provide a specific location for vegan and vegetarian diners.

In August, UNT opened Mean Greens, an all-vegan restaurant, with options such as couscous, soy milk and vegetable paninis. According to a Dallas Observer blogger, Seth Cohn, both vegan and non-vegan students took advantage of the location.

Perlowski said there seems to be a small number of dedicated vegans at Baylor compared to other schools, and therefore there has not seemed to be a large need to accommodate these students. As for putting products like almond milk and soy options such as tofu and soy yogurt in dining halls, and looking into a raw foods bar that would be vegetarian and vegan-friendly, Perlowski said he does not object to the idea.

“We are open to trying anything that would meet the needs of the students of the university. It is always a challenge to provide enough variety that satisfies everyone, but we experiment with ideas to see what works,” Perlowski said.

Trimble said he hopes that more options will be available in the future so that his daily meal choices can have some wiggle room.

“Outside of sushi, there really isn’t much else,” Trimble said.