"Another new crafty beer type place just opened, Cottonwood. And if this is not the 15th of these types of craft beer-meet-upscale food, but with a casual vibe, places to open up in Houston that serves nothing vegetarian," a colleague here at the Houston Press recently complained. "The food of these places is all very high-end, despite their want of a laid-back patronage, but with nothing vegetarian-friendly," she continued. "It's so odd, and a trend in a weird direction."
|Photo by VJ Beauchamp|
|Portland has two all-vegan craft beer bars like Bye & Bye (seen here). GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME, HOUSTON.|
Even as an omnivore who considers herself pretty sensitive to the needs of my vegetarian friends, this isn't an issue that had honestly ever occurred to me. I'm firmly of the opinion that people who choose a restrictive diet are also choosing to have their options narrowed when dining (or drinking) out, so complaints I field about such-and-such restaurant not offering, say, vegan quinoa usually fall on deaf ears.
The statistics bear out what seems to be a small -- if very vocal -- minority: Only 5 percent of Americans identify themselves as vegetarians, according to a 2012 Gallup poll. That number is down slightly from the 6 percent who identified as vegetarians in 2001 and 1999. An even smaller number identify as vegan: only 2 percent.
Despite this, the two minorities -- craft beer fans and vegetarians -- often find themselves overlapping, as both groups tend to be more mindful and supportive of small, local or "artisanal" food and beverage producers. But craft beer bars aren't necessarily the best place for a vegetarian to eat, drink and be merry all at the same time.
"I think the trend in menus at beer bars is to offer food that is basically 'bad' for you and manly," says Mike Sammons, owner of Mongoose versus Cobra as well as its wine bar counterpart, 13 Celsius. And -- as most vegetarians are well aware -- vegetable-based diets are rarely considered "manly." What's a man without his meat and potatoes?More »