The Worst Places to Eat as a Vegan

Vegan eating can be a healthy and sustainable lifestyle choice that can lead to higher energy and overall well-being. Many restaurants cater to vegan lifestyles and provide vegan or vegetarian menus. However, there are some places that just stink to eat at as a vegan. It’s never fun to sit down and realize your only option is to munch on just a plate of lettuce. Here is a list of places that are in my experience, the worst places to eat as a vegan. (This list is in no particular order)

  1. Subway

While Subway does have a vegetarian sandwich option their vegan dressing options are limited. If you find yourself eating at a Subway and don’t know what to order you will likely find yourself with plain vegetables on bread, a very un-flavorful meal. If you are in a pinch and find yourself eating at a Subway here’s a few tips to make the most out of your sub experience.

  1. Can I get that with guac please? – Subway has started offering guacamole, adding this will give you a healthy dose of flavor with some added nutrients to boot!
  2. Veg out- If your going all veggie don’t be afraid to give the more flavorful options a try. Banana Peppers, onions and olives add a nice kick to any sandwich
  3. Spice it up- Salt and pepper alone can make a huge difference to your sub. If your looking to experiment with flavor, add some extra spices to your sandwich


  1. Cracker Barrell

Cracker Barrell’s front gift shop is one of the most fun places to browse for décor, presents and more. But when it comes to eating vegan in their restaurant it can be a very difficult task. I think of Cracker Barrell as the home of comfort food. Almost all of their dishes contain butter or are cooked in fat or grease. You will likely find yourself looking at a plate of rather limp looking lettuce if ordering off the menu. Here are some tips to liven up your Cracker Barrell experience

  1. Sides- Don’t be afraid to order sides as a meal, a baked potato with salt and pepper can be a filling option that’s more entertaining than a salad. Tip: Make sure you ask for a potato without butter
  2. Get fruity- Ask for a side of fruit and some apple cider vinegar to go with your salad, this can turn boring lettuce into a tropical salad experience.
  3. Beware of the Oatmeal: Cracker Barrell often totes it’s oatmeal as a vegan option, however the oatmeal comes prepackaged in milk and even when prepared in water, it is not vegan.


  1. Jim ‘N ‘Nicks

It’s safe to say you should steer clear from most barbecue places as a vegan. Jim ‘N ‘Nicks offers a wide range of barbecue options for meat-lovers but if you end up there as a vegan the menu can be daunting to navigate. Nearly everything seems to be covered in cheese, smothered in meat or cooked in grease and butter. Finding a meal that’s vegan, nutritious and tasty can be a difficult task. You may find yourself staring at a fruit cup and a side salad as a meal if you don’t know what to order. Here are some tips to navigating this BBQ rich menu.

  1. Go Greek: Greek salads often have a host of interesting veggies without meat at the focus. Jim ‘N ‘Nicks has a classic Greek salad, to make it vegan just forgo the chicken, pepperoncini and feta.
  2. Mix and Match: Jim ‘N ‘Nicks has a host of salads to choose from but without meat and cheese they can look a little plain, try asking to customize your salad by adding ingredients from another and make the menu your own personal salad bar. Take the chopped southern salad and remove the meat and cheese and ask for a side of fruit. You can turn your salad into a tropical meal.
  1. Steak and Shake

Steak and shake is a fast food diner famous for their burgers shakes and fries. With a menu heavy on dairy and meat there are limited vegan options available. You might find yourself sitting with nothing in front of you with your friends all enjoying their shakes. This can be especially difficult when all your party orders is ice cream to go and you feel pressured to eat but don’t want to order a full meal. However, you aren’t out of luck, there are some ways to navigate steak and shake’s menu in a healthy vegan way.

  1. Veggie time: Try the veggie melt sandwich or sourdough or rye but ask for no cheese and request the mushrooms not be cooked in butter, or if you’re in a rush leave them off. You can spice this off with some fresh salsa, mustard or bbq sauce.
  2. Custom greens: Steak and shake has a lot of side options that can be turned into a pretty delicious vegan meal. Try asking for a salad with corn, black beans, tomatoes, lettuce, and onions and top it with some guacamole or salsa.
  1. Zaxby’s

This is one of the hardest places to eat as a vegan. Zaxby’s specializes in chicken tenders and fries and has limited menu options. Trying to eat vegan at Zaxby’s you will most definitely find yourself needing to eat more later to get enough daily protein and nutrients. If you’re stuck navigating the menu at Zaxby’s here are a few vegan options you can order.

  1. Fry time: While a meal of fries may not be well balanced if you want to indulge Zaxby’s crinkle cut fries can be an easy option that’s still vegan. Just check and see how the fries are cooked beforehand.
  2. Side Savvy: Try getting a basket of celery and tartar chips without dressing. While it may not be a well-balanced dish it will still give you something to crunch on.

Not all restaurants cater to vegan diets and unfortunately sometimes eating out can feel like more trouble than it’s worth. Navigating new menus can be tricky and sometimes we are stuck with an undesirable meal. These are five restaurants that I have eaten at and in my personal experience have been some of the most difficult to order at. While you may not get the most exciting options if you know how to navigate a menu you can still eat vegan at any of these places. It’s important to remember not to let one tough meal get you discouraged. If you have any other restaurants you find hard to eat at or tips for these places drop a comment below!


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