By Simon Isham–
College Prowler recently released their updated list of the most vegan and vegetarian-friendly college campuses. U of L ranked fairly middle-of-the road at 853 of 1,323. While options for the meatless and/or halakhically inclined are typically buried within menus, they are ready and available to those who know where to look.
Luckily, the Cardinal has complied a handy-dandy guide to campus dining to take out the guesswork, so you can confidently stroll in, knowing exactly what you’re going to order, and look like a total pro doing it. We used the same price ranking system as Urban Spoon does — adjusted for a college budget. Take a look!
Wendy’s — $
Wendy’s is among the cheapest of options for trying to use up that last little bit left on your meal plan. In the mornings, they offer steel-cut oatmeal, fresh-baked oatmeal bars, and seasoned homestyle potatoes. As they transition to lunch, their vegetarian menu narrows considerably, but fries are always an option. And, though it isn’t on their menu, Wendy’s offers a sandwich composed of the same veggies that are found on their burgers for a mere $.69 — probably the cheapest thing to happen on campus, ever.
Subway — $$
Subway is a national brand, but just in case you’ve been living under a rock, they offer the Veggie Delite, on which you can choose the veggies you want. They also carry the Veggie Patty, which isn’t on their menu.
Einstein Bros. Bagels — $$
Einstein Bros. offers a greater variety of bagels than you are likely to see south of New York City. To be more explicit, they offer plain, blueberry, Power Protein, asiago, chocolate chip, cinnamon raisin, 100 Percent Whole Wheat with Honey, Sesame Dip’d, cinnamon sugar, sourdough and Everything — any of which can be turned into the sandwich of your choosing, which, if you’re reading this guide, could only be the Veg Out. If you’re only in the mood for a nosh, you can order your bagel with schmear in plain, strawberry, smoked salmon, or garlic and chive. You can also order them with hummus, peanut butter, jelly, honey butter or butter blend. They also carry fruit cups, Garden Market Chopped Salads, an asparagus-mushroom-swiss-egg white bagel thin, and a cheese-only bagel thin.
Tulip Tree Cafe — $$
The Tulip Tree Cafe in Ekstrom Library is not only a good place to grab a cup of coffee, but also to grab a bite. They offer two vegetarian sandwiches, the Roasted Veggie Wrap and the Mozzarella Tomato, both of which can be ordered toasted. They also offer an egg and cheese sandwich in the mornings.
Papa John’s Pizza — $$
If you’re not from Louisville, you may not know that Papa John’s is a local brand. John Schnatter and his family have given greatly of their time and money to the University of Louisville, such that Papa John’s is the exclusive pizza provider on campus. The restaurant operates in single-serving combo meals in cheese pizza, veggie pizza, and cheese stick varieties.
Freshens / Quick Zone / Seasons — $$
These restaurants represent three food locations in one. Freshens is the spot’s smoothie concept, Quick Zone is their convenience store-style setup and Seasons is a soup and salad bar that charges by the pound. Each of them is extremely streamlined and efficient, allowing you to create your own experience.
Shah’s Mongolian Grill — $$$
Shah’s is a custom noodle-and-rice bowl outfit boasting food that is cooked right in front of your eyes by the proprietor, if you should choose to stick around and watch this novelty. Every ingredient in your bowl gets your say-so, so it won’t be hard to create a vegetarian option for yourself. They also offer a wide selection of sauces — also mixed before your eyes. An important note: Shah’s does not accept Cardinal Cards, but they do offer a ten percent discount to students who present an ID.
McAlister’s Select — $$$
McAlister’s Select doesn’t have the same range of items that a full franchise does, but the one run at U of L by Sodexo has almost as many vegetarian options. For lunch, the restaurant transitions to serving three different types of baked potato — the Cheese Spud, a baked potato with cheese; Justaspud, just a plain baked potato; the Veggie spud, served with cheese, sour cream, tomatoes and chives. They also offer a nacho basket, soups-of-the-day, a garden salad and the Veggie Club — not to be confused with another sandwich they offer, “The Veggie.” In case you forget what’s vegetarian and what’s not, McAlister’s has provided a vegetarian indicator on their menu board which takes the form of a tomato.
The Terrace — $$$
The Terrace comprises four restaurants which spill out into the main cafeteria. Here, you can choose to eat breakfast or lunch from around the world at the Global Market, a noodle or rice platter with tofu and an egg roll from the Mein Bowl, waffle fries from Chick-fil-A or California rolls from Tsunami Sushi.
Damon’s Grill — $$$$
Stylized as a sports bar, Damon’s is lacking in vegetarian options, but they do have one. The Create-Your-Own Pasta dish allows you to have things your way, but since it is also the most expensive option around, you can’t have things your way all the time.
The Ville Grille — N/A
Probably the most economical option for a residential student on a meal plan, the Ville Grille offers a special section of their cafeteria, the Wild Mushroom, specifically to vegetarians, allowing easy access to tofu at any time the restaurant is open. There are plenty of vegetarian options to be found in the rest of the Ville Grille as well, but since their menu is constantly changing, it is impossible to profile all of them. It’s a good excuse to explore your campus dining options, eh?