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Posted on Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Dave!Being a vegetarian is usually not a big deal. Even if you end up at a steak house, they usually have a veggie salad of some kind... or perhaps a soup... maybe some kind of veggie sandwich... or even a baked potato. There's always something I can eat, so going out for a meal is no big deal.

Unless you are dealing with the bastards at Applebees. They have NOTHING for vegetarians on their menu.

Every salad has meat on it.

Every sandwich is meat-filled.

Every pasta bowl is topped with some kind of dead animal.

Applebee's now has the single most vegetarian-hostile menu I've ever seen. The only two things I could find on it were some kind of gross-looking mushroom pizza appetizer, and greasy deep-fat-fried mozzarella sticks. Which is great, except I'm allergic to mushrooms and don't want to have a fat-induced heart attack. Asking my nice waitress for help, here are my options...

  • Order a salad or pasta bowl without the meat (but pay as if you had the meat).
  • Order a $3.49 entrée side-salad without an entree for $6.49.
  • Substitute a veggie patty on a burger and have them hold any other meats which come on it.
  • Eat dessert for dinner.

I went with the veggie burger (no bacon), because it was easier than trying to figure out how to order a bunch of sides (like a baked potato and garlic bread) which aren't on the actual menu anywhere.

This is ridiculous. Seriously. Applebees is run by dumbasses who need sensible advice badly...

  • There are 7.3 million vegetarians in the USA... furthermore, 22.8 million people (10%) follow a vegetarian-inclined diet, where they are trying to reduce meats from their diet. How are you serving these fucking customers?
  • If you offer veggie burger substitutions, PUT IT ON THE MENU! Why hide your ONE existing vegetarian option?
  • Add a fucking meatless entrée salad to your fucking menu. How fucking hard could that fucking be? You already have all the fucking ingredients! Sure you won't be able to fucking over-charge vegetarians who want a salad anymore, but at least you won't have to deal with angry people writing blog entries about what fucking assholes you are for ripping them off.
  • You have side salads, side baked potatoes, side garlic bread, side fries, side vegetables... put them on the menu! Don't tie everything you make to a dead animal, because not everybody wants to have to buy a dead animal in order the get them.
  • Develop one entrée... just one fucking item... that's meat-free. A pasta with vegetables instead of meat. A sandwich with no dead things on it. ANYTHING. Just one thing that doesn't force vegetarians to rework your meat-infused crap to be acceptable for their consumption.

Vegetarians are not asking for the world. Just a line on the menu that says "Substitute a veggie patty on any burger at no extra charge!"... or... "Without the chicken, subtract $2." Just SOMETHING that shows you aren't so stupid as to be hostile towards 10% of the population you're asking to patronize your business.

Otherwise, we just get hostile back, and declare to the entire internet that we're sick and tired of your crap, and won't be eating at your over-priced-piece-of-shit-vegetarian-abusive restaurants anymore.

Categories: Food 2008Click To It: Permalink


  1. margalit says:

    Angry much, Dave?

    I guess I don’t get why you continue to eat in restaurants that feature mediocre food. If you went into a family owned, or independent restaurant, you could probably find a dozen things on the menu to eat. I know around here there are a LOT of restaurants where you would have no trouble picking many different starters and entrees off the menu.

    I’m not veg, but I rarely eat meat out, I don’t eat shellfish or pork, so I’m in pretty much a similar situation. Which is why I never, and I mean NEVER go to chain restaurants. They can’t accomodate me like a local indy restaurant can. Nor do they want to. Restaurants like the Ground Round and Applebys that plan their menu around ‘family dining’ don’t give a shit about special accomodations. They just don’t. They can seat a bazillion burger loving slobs faster than they can find something off the menu for you to eat.

    Because I can’t keep up with your travels, I assume you’re away from home. Can you find asian restaurants where you are? They almost always have plenty of veggie offerings. Or what about American Diner type restaurants. They do a lot of breakfast for dinner kinds of food, all of it meatless.

    I know, it sucks to walk into a restaurant and not be able to find something to eat. Which is why most Kosher businessmen order meals to be delivered to their rooms by various web sites. Imagine how sucky that must be!

  2. Neil T. says:

    Wetherspoon’s, a national chain of pubs here in the UK (there’s usually at least 1 or 2 branches in most towns) has a really poor vegetarian choice too – about 6-7 dishes on its entire menu of around 40-50.

  3. ssp says:

    While vegetarianism has more arguments you can make for it than religion, I fail to see its point. Sure it’s easy to serve veggie dishes (and slightly harder to serve _nice_ veggie dishes), but perhaps some people just don’t _want_ vegetarians as their customers. Just as you may have problems getting your muslim kid into a christian kindergarden (or vice versa), you may have problems getting a veggie meal at a non-veggie place.

    The proper capitalist thing to do would have been to leave the place and eat elsewhere rather than leaving your money with them. This way they just see ‘Dave == profits’. Which won’t help driving home your point (if there is any).

  4. Christian says:

    Damn, and I thought all the red meat we carnivores ate gave us a bad temper…

    Seriously though, that’s pretty ordinary for what I assume is a big chain kind of restaurant (we don’t have them here Down Under). Years ago a group of us went to a place called the Big Steak Restaurant, and one of us was a vegetarian. After some discussion he ordered, from memory, a baked potato plus salads. They put bacon chips on it.

  5. seewhy says:

    That’s just nuts. While I’m not a vegetarian I don’t eat much meat at all and quite often will go the vegetarian option when eating out. I’m sure I’m not alone in doing so.
    Being the sweet tooth I am though I would have used that at an excuse to go with dessert for dinner 😛

  6. Dave2 says:

    Margalit… Ummm yes I’m angry… did I not put in enough f-words to make that clear? Applebee’s used to have vegetarian options, but on their latest menu they removed them so that we have to pay extra by ordering meat dishes without the meat… that’s a slap in the face to customers they used to serve. It would be great to live in a big city like Boston where there were tons of options for me, but I don’t. Most of the “local” restaurants here are Mexican restaurants (and that gets tiring after a while) or chains.

    Neil… SIX OR SEVEN OPTIONS?!? That sure beats NO options!! 🙂

    SSP… Uhhh… I think that’s what I said in the final paragraph of my entry! I don’t think I can make it any clearer that they won’t be getting any money from me when I say “…we’re sick and tired of your crap, and won’t be eating at your fucking-over-priced-piece-of-shit-vegetarian-abusive restaurants anymore.” Obviously, now that I know they’ve changed their menu and don’t have anything I can eat, I WON’T be eating there anymore. And now I have to ask, by your own logic here, why do you continue to leave your money with Apple when all you do is complain non-stop about their products on your blog?

    Christian… But I would EXPECT to have to order a baked potato and a salad at a steak restaurant, so that’s not a problem for me. My problem is that Applebee’s doesn’t even have those options on the menu! I’d have to order a salad with meat that I would pay for, but ask that they leave off. Sure they would probably let me order a baked potato off the menu but, again, they could charge whatever they want for it… why not just put it on the freakin’ menu?? Probably because they want to maximize profits by eliminating as many low-cost food items as possible. I dunno.

    Seewhy… It’s not that there are NO vegetarian options at Applebees… it’s just that they hide them, or may you pay extra for getting less by having them leave meat off of meat items,,, or ordering off the menu.

  7. Sue says:

    Man, that sucks. I haven’t been to Applebee’s in ages (won’t go now though), but I remember this situation in other restaurants and I would end up ordering grilled cheese off the kid’s menu. At the time I couldn’t just walk out because I was with friends.

  8. Dave2 says:

    Which was my situation exactly… though I wasn’t offered a kid’s menu. My guess is that the grilled cheese comes with ham or bacon. 🙂

  9. apricoco says:

    amen, hallelujah, and more power to you. As a fellow vegetarian I have given up on the chain restaurants. I despise being charged for meat that I have taken off of a salad, I hate being forced to order side items as well. And soup? Mostly contaminated with dead animals, be it via chicken stock or bacon bases. I hate all restaurants that don’t give me at least ONE option. I go a step further and request it not be salad, give me at least one sandwich/meal that has no dead animals and you have my business. I always have to wonder about restaurants that don’t have anything, is my money not green enough for them?

    On another note, I hope that your allergy/stress/whatever thing is better.

    I’m going to be in your neck of the woods starting Wednesday, hopefully my hot weather florida-accustomed body makes it..

  10. Avitable says:

    Wait – what’s wrong with tasty deep fried gooey mozzarella sticks? Mmmmmmmm.

  11. Michelle says:

    I’ve never cared for Applebee’s. All their food kinda sucks.

  12. ETinNY says:

    Ummm, so no replay of Jack Nicholson’s diner scene in “Five Easy Pieces”, eh?

    Applebee’s may not care about a total of 30 million people demographically but, they have friends that may react out of empathy, too, and that starts to add up. Now, that I’ve put my two cents worth in, you can forward this blog to Applebee’s Mgt. If they care then, they may take this into consideration, offer you some suggestions and you might even get a free meal out of them.

  13. RW says:

    Echoing Margalit somewhat, I see no Earthly reason to actually go into Applebee’s.

    …. thinking….. why…

    Nope. I got nothin’.

  14. Christian says:

    The thing with the baked potato with bacon chips was that it was preceded by a 10-15 minute discussion with the waitress regarding possible vegetarian options, with the opinion expressed that any meat, which included bacon chips, were unacceptable. And then it arrived…

  15. I just don’t understand why they wouldn’t have some vegetarian offerings. Even people who aren’t vegetarian don’t eat meat every meal (do they?) My son is mostly vegetarian and he feels the same frustrations you do sometimes. He ordered some pizza thing once (not at applebees) that was supposed to be just cheese because he couldn’t find anything else and it had bacon bits or something on it so he didn’t eat it. I would think it wouldn’t be that difficult for them to offer a few vegetarian choices though. Or just write a price for the salds with no meat? Maybe I will call later and ask them about that just out of curiousity.

  16. Iron Fist says:

    Die, Applebees! Die!*

    *Don’t really die. It’s a figure of speech. But still, get your act together.

  17. Beth says:

    Meeeow!! Retract those claws….I’ll send you a grilled cheese by mail. Perhaps you should just move to Atlanta…….hmmmm.

  18. Colin Brooks says:

    That sounds horrible. I have considered how hard it must be to be a vegetarian and eat out a few times but I’ve never heard anyone complain about it. Most of the places I have visited offer options for vegetarians.

    From a large chain like Applebees, I find it unacceptable that they have not included vegetarian choices in their menus.

  19. Hilly Sue says:

    As a FAMILY restaurant, I would expect Applebee’s to have at least one or two vegetarian choices. Hell, even most “hamburger joints” will even offer that and hi…they are all about the meat! (TWKS) I disagree with those who are surprised by your frustration.

  20. Poppy says:

    I have a vegetarian-inspired diet (not inclined, just inspired) because I eat the moo, but I still don’t eat at Applebee’s because I hate their food.

  21. Winter says:

    I hate Applebees and Chilis. Overpriced for the size of their portions is an understatement. Snotty wait staff is a given. We’ve had the vegetarian issue with them too. Eff em. I like Mexican or Italian better. They always have meat free dishes and the portions are nice… Cause even tho I love me some dead bleeding cow, I like cheese enchiladas better!

  22. sizzle says:

    Applebees is gross anyhow. When I was on Weight Watchers it was advertised that they had a points-friendly menu so I went to eat here. BLECK!

    Also their commercials are so lame. The one about the guy calling ahead for his Applebees pick up. You know your life is pretty bad if you have Applebees programmed into your cell phone!

  23. Finn says:

    Applebee’s sucks.

  24. Tracy says:

    I was served a cricket once at Applebee’s…does that count as a vegetarian option? God, I wish I were lying about that frickin’ cricket. It took me years to eat at an Applebee’s again.

  25. diane says:

    Yeah, large chain restaurants really don’t cater to anyone with special dietary needs or a desire to eat well.
    Yesterday I was at the grocery store searching for breakfast cereal that has the right protein/carb ratio so that I can actually eat it. After wandering up and down the completely overstocked cereal aisle about 4 times, I found something I could eat in a tiny corner of organic foods wayyyyyy across the store.
    I am lucky to live in a city that presents many options beyond the greedy chains that cater to burger-lovers. But I’ve also stopped hoping that I can find much I can eat out beyond a couple of local stand-bys. It’s no wonder we have an obesity epidemic!

  26. Jonathan says:

    THANK YOU!!!! O’Charley’s, Applebee’s, and all those “bar & grill” establishments are the worst places to go if you are vegetarian. Even the “Pick 3” or “Pick 4” “veggie plate” at Applebee’s is not a lot of help (the “seasoned vegetables” are fat-laden with butter sauce — not to mention they only serve broccoli).

    No wonder I cook at home so much.

  27. 67 says:

    not trying to be rude or demeaning but if you’re unhappy that they don’t have vegetarian options, then what’s the point of eating there? why blow up such a big fuss over a restaurants’ “ignorance” towards the number of vegetarians in the world when they have enough customers from the carnivores to earn profits? i am pretty sure there ARE other restaurants near applebees that HAVE vegetarian options. why not eat there instead? save yourself the heart attack and the pain and the trouble and the angst in writing and majoring on the minor.

  28. Dave2 says:

    They changed their menu to eliminate all vegetarian options. Had I know that, I obviously wouldn’t have eaten there.

    I’m not having a heart attack or angst, I’m simply letting people know that Applebee’s is no longer vegetarian-friendly so they aren’t taken by surprise as I was.

  29. ChillyWilly says:

    Applebee’s sucks big time, for all things… not just their lack of having a vegetarian menu (which they should…. I tend to eat some of the vegetarian items at eating establishments).

    Chili’s, on the other hand, has always been more diversified in their menu items, and will even go through extra measures to make something different. To this day, I’ve never had an issue there with getting anything, even something they’ve discontinued long ago.

    Local restaurants do a better job at having choices than the national chains.

  30. Robert says:

    Dave, I’ve been a vegetarian for 13 years. Do you know the last time I set foot in a crappy mega-chain restaurant like Applebees? I can’t remember. They are all horrible for vegetarians. I just don’t even bother with them anymore. Not when I can find plenty of nice, independent locally-owned restaurants where they’re happy to provide meatless menu items.
    Even chains that do have meatless items make them so crappy and tasteless I’d rather just stay home and eat cereal.
    Really…big chains are the worst thing for the culinary arts…and your health…ever invented!

  31. Sue says:

    To the idiots who think they know it all,

    If a person is out with friends they tend to all eat at the same place, no? How about going to a restaurant where one *thinks* they are going to served veggie dishes only to be shell-shocked and discover they no longer do that, and that the options are gone? By then, the party is already seated and it would be rude to leave your friends because there’s nothing for you to eat there, right?

    I get it, I do. It’s not like he ‘knew’ they wouldn’t serve veggie dishes. He assumed the menu hadn’t changed. After all, the name is Apple-bees not animal-bees. It might be different if somebody allergic to shellfish walked into Red Lobster, but Applebees isn’t marketed as a meat-only restaurant, it’s marketed as ‘family’, you know, ‘something for everyone’? Sheesh.

  32. Foo says:

    So true. I met my parents at Applebees for lunch yesterday and ended up getting the cheddar macaroni and cheese with chicken…ummm without chicken (who the fuck puts chicken in their mac and cheese?) – and yes, still had to pay for the chicken and they probably just picked the strips out. They used to have veggie wraps, steamed veggie and rice bowls and a bunch of other stuff. Now everything is drenched in meat or fried. Bastards!

  33. Avitable says:

    Jesus, the Internet Assvice committee is in full gear today.

  34. Annie says:

    I have felt for a LONG time that Apple-bee’s doesn’t give a rip for their customers. This comes from before they banned smoking in my state in food places. There smoking section was at the door and no matter what non smoking area you went to you had to go through a smoke infested area. I would stink of the smell of it every time I left. Which is why I rarely go into the place.
    I also find that trying to eat healthy out anywhere is a challenge…even if you aren’t vegetarian.

  35. I’m an on again/off again vegetarian and have been most of my life… and I’d have to agree – Applebees is horrible. It’s my least favorite place to eat, although I don’t think I realized until your post exactly why. Now it all makes sense!

    Is it “like chicken”? NO THANK YOU!

  36. Poppy says:

    @Sue: “Apple-bees not animal-bees” made me giggle and drove home that point…

  37. adena says:

    Yeah, I loved the “Applebees, not Animalbees” line, too!

    People are getting way hostile with you. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to expect a restaurant to have some sort of veggie option. At least a normal salad!!

    And, I think a lot of people don’t realize that the Wenatchee/Cashmere area isn’t exactly Seattle when it comes to food choices.

    I live in McMinnville. BELIEVE me, I can relate.

  38. Rachel says:

    Wow, that’s ridiculous. How hard is it to put that on a menu? Morons.

    But then again, it is Applebees.

  39. Stephanie P says:

    I am a vegetarian also and was recently dragged to a Red Lobster with some family members. They only had side items available for me so I ordered three vegetables. I thought I could enjoy a plate of vegetables for lunch, but when the waiter arrived, he set three plates in front of me which was difficult since everyone else at the table had ridiculously large dinner plates (and portions) in front of them. There was barely enough room for everything on the table.

    Would it be so hard to put everything on one plate for me? I told the waiter I was vegetarian. He must have interpreted that to mean I should be inconvenienced and annoyed. At least I got to eat something, right?

    I stopped going to chain restaurants since then. Not only am I disappointed in their refusal to recognize vegetarians, but I am also disgusted by their refusal to decrease their portion sizes in an effort to reduct the size of our fat-ass American population (of which I am a member).

  40. although i like meat (twks), i’ll write a nasty letter because of your injustice!
    i’m on it!
    (again, twks)

  41. jewelz916 says:

    Hallelujah and Holy Shit!!!!!

  42. Lewis says:

    Precisely my case in point for why we are SO NOT mainstream/chain restaurant people. And, of course, here in Portland I can find tons of veggie deals on most any menu. NON-MEAT-EATERS UNITE! (I know that doesn’t sound horribly polite, but it’s what came out….)

  43. kilax says:

    I am totally with you. I refuse to eat at Applebees for the same reason. I shouldn’t have to make an extreme effort to find something to eat. There is one restaurant that everyone in Steven’s family likes to go to, and the only vegetarian thing there is a baked potato and a side salad. They urge that we always eat there.

    TGI Friday’s used to have a veggie burger, then they pulled if off the menu. We don’t eat there anymore either.

  44. whall says:

    Wow, I hated Applebees because of the horrible service and terrible food. Who knew that for all these years they catered to my meatarian lifestyle?!!??!

    Now I’ll have to give them a second chance!

  45. Two words:

    Ruby Tuesday’s.

  46. Alexis says:

    I can’t believe how ridiculous that is! Recently, I went to Ruth’s Chris, steak(dead-animal)house par excellence, and ordered an amazing 3 course vegetarian meal right off the menu with no bartering for special treatment…but so-called neighborhood friendly chain Applebee’s can’t even offer a pasta primavera? Grrrr, I’m angry for you, Dave!! Of course, I’ve never liked Applebee’s anyway – maybe it’s just my local one, but I ate there a couple times ages ago and found the food to be saltier than the dreaded double salt licorice, so I never went back. Now I’ll make sure to shake my fist in their general direction every time I drive by.

  47. Oh…yeah…I hate Crapplebees. I wouldn’t know what they have on their menu because I refuse to eat there. A few years back, they were obsessed with black beans which I really don’t like because they taste like dirt to me. Well, piss on them. You don’t need their crappy food anyway.

  48. Whit says:

    Applebees just sucks, whether you eat meat or not.

    As an ex-vegetarian I must say that it was much easier to eat out than I would have thought, but still harder than it needed to be.

    I worked at Chili’s for 8 years and there were always a lot of vegetarians working there, we got creative. You can get anything off the menu served in any way you want. We came up with some pretty clever items- get a lettuce wrap with veggies or a diced bean patty, it’s good, or the nachos without the queso (it has beef in it).

  49. web says:

    Thanks for the information.

  50. Belinda says:

    Oh, man, I love Vegetarian Times. I’ll never be a vegetarian again, but that magazine is AWESOME. Their cookbooks are great, too. I made a whole Thanksgiving meal out of their recipes once, and it was great.

  51. Sandie Law says:

    I ran into the same problem with Applebees. I ended up eating french fries for dinner (and they weren’t even that good).

  52. karla says:

    I’ve eaten an Applebarf’s ONCE and it was SO BAD that I am never ever ever going back again. I mean, they fucked up potato skins, for chrissakes. The one thing NO ONE can fuck up they fucked up.

    Why did you even go there? Seriouusly? That place has ass written all over it.

  53. slowrydr32 says:

    Maybe they could just serve a block of cheese for all that wine. I mean really, we as American’s have so many choices about everything. Why are so many blogging and wining. No wonder we are so hated by other countries. We American people need to be more possitive. Find a resturant that has a good vegitarian menu and blogg about how good it is and incourage others to eat there.

  54. Dave2 says:

    Yes, I’m sure you’re right. Other countries hate us because I complained about a menu. What other explanation could there be?

    Personally, I think we’re hated because our uneducated masses don’t know how to spell worth a shit… but that’s just me.

  55. The best solution is to never darken the doorway of an Applebees again. For that matter, avoid TGI Friday, Red Robin, Claim Jumper, and as many other chain restaurants as possible. Your body will thank you for it!

  56. Marya says:

    I know this post is old, but I’m being dragged to Applebee’s tomorrow and I’m fucking pissed about it. So thanks for having already got my rage into words. Saves me the hassle.

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