–With the dramatic rise in popularity of the plant based diet, especially among Millennials (18-35 years) you’d think local restaurants in what is both a college town and a tourism corridor would be creating hospitality around the growing and evolving needs of customers.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for several very popular downtown SLO restaurants. These establishments have been longtime favorites of locals and visitors (including us), so we were caught off guard when we experienced a lack of vegan-friendliness.
Here’s four restaurants in San Luis Obispo City we suggest you avoid if you’re vegan (at least for now until they up their vegan game).
There are no clearly marked vegan options on Sidecar’s menu, most everything will have to be modified if you want a plant based meal, and some of it can’t be modified.
If you do go here, be prepared to pay a premium price and receive less. The last dish we ordered was the Brussel Sprouts and had to remove the Goat Cheese and Aioli but still we’re charged full price. We were also asked if we “wanted these items on the side.” No, we don’t them on the top, or on the side.
Their cocktails and atmosphere are AWESOME, hopefully they’ll provide culinary hospitality to vegans sometime soon.
Novo seems like they would be vegan-friendly, but they’re not. When asked what the vegan options on the menu were, our server responded that she didn’t really know because she was a “carnivore for life.” Also, very unclearly marked vegan items and confusing menu if you eat plant based. Note to restaurants: It’s not fun to modify the menu.
We love their patio and atmosphere, but their service left us wanting more and, quite frankly, still very hungry.
Big Sky Cafe
This one seems like an odd choice for this roundup post, however recently we’ve had a few issues eating here, including being served Pork Posole after clearly stating several times the entire table was vegan. They also gave us non-vegan bread and butter. Big Sky has been a go-to for vegetarians in this town for years, but vegan is the new vegetarian: it’s time to up the game.
Koberl at Blue
We were excited that Koberl has a “vegetarian menu” (we’ve seen the same menu there for many years) but when we asked them to update it to be a “vegan menu” recently, they ignored our request.
When we recently dined there the server had no idea what was vegan on the vegetarian menu and repeatedly asked us if we wanted butter. Hopefully they will update their menu soon so we can enjoy their delicious cocktails, beautiful atmosphere and (usually) great service.
Note to all local restaurants: Vegetarian is not enough any longer, we need you to clearly offer and label vegan options on your menu.
Hopefully, the businesses listed in this roundup will contact us so we can help them understand the needs of vegans, and help them offer vegan options and vegan-friendly customer service.
Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in San Luis Obispo
Looking for a place to eat that actually caters to those choosing to eat a Plant Based diet (or not choosing but HAVE to because you have food allergies like many of us)? Below are our advertising partners:
SLO Vegan Approved Restaurants