What A Wide Variety Of Vegetable Options Says About A Restaurant

The next time you're dining out, count the veggie options that the restaurant has on offer. If the vegetable options are diverse, there's a good chance that the quality of the restaurant is also higher than your average dining establishment, too. This rule of thumb applies to every type of eatery, whether it's a fancy, up-scale restaurant or a more modest family-style joint, but there are exceptions, of course.

Unlike some foods, quality veggie dishes require fresh ingredients (frozen vegetables won't do with their inferior texture, color, and flavor). Ample vegetable choices often reflect a commitment to sustainable dining (the practice of sourcing fresh, farm-direct produce). This dedication can translate to other ingredients on the menu, too. Vegetable dishes also promote healthier, eco-friendly dining when compared directly to meat dishes.

But, there are some important nuances to consider here. It's unrealistic to expect every restaurant to offer a complete menu of vegetable options, especially when looking at specialized eateries like barbecue joints, where the focus is naturally on meat. In such cases, having limited vegetable choices doesn't necessarily indicate that the food is unhealthy or that the restaurant follows unethical practices. Additionally, you shouldn't dismiss items like pasta and bread simply because they aren't strictly vegetable-based, either. They can still nicely balance out a meat-heavy menu!

Where does that leave a restaurant with few to no veggie options on the menu?

On the flip side, there are plenty of restaurants out there that have very few or even no vegetable-based dishes on the menu. It's important to note that the absence of vegetable options doesn't necessarily mean that the food is of poor quality or that the restaurant lacks ethical standards. However, it does suggest that the menu may not be very inclusive for those following vegetarian, vegan, or flexitarian diets. With around 6% of Americans now embracing these dietary choices, restaurants that don't offer suitable vegetable-based choices may miss out on serving this portion of the population.

Does this mean that restaurants without a wide array of vegetable options are automatically bad? Not necessarily! While a diverse selection of veggie dishes can reflect positively on a restaurant by demonstrating a commitment to health and the environment, even restaurants that primarily serve meat can exhibit quality and ethical practices through their sourcing, preparation, and service. The "veggie test" can be a nice trick to get some fast insights, but it shouldn't be your sole criterion if you want to genuinely evaluate a restaurant. There are many other factors to consider, such as the overall food and service, atmosphere, decor, and so much more that culminate in a proper measurement of a restaurant's quality!