Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vegetarianism is Dead?

According to The Brooklyn Paper's Mike McLaughlin, in his article on Brooklyn's second annual vegetarian restaurant week (Brooklyn Goes Veg!), vegetarianism is a fad whose day has passed. He writes:

Many of the proprietors told The Brooklyn Paper that demand for their animal-free fare has flattened out. Melissa Danielle, the restaurant week producer, said that the crash of vegetarianism is a result of livestock being raised more humanely and in a more environmentally conscious manner — reducing the knee-jerk reaction against consuming animals.

In discussing what he says is a decline in restaurants now offering strictly vegetarian or vegan fare, McLaughlin adds that:

the trend is definitely in the direction of all-vegetarian menus going the way of the dodo bird (which, apparently, tasted pretty darn good) since the bumper years of vegetarian restaurant, 2002–2005.

According to the SuperVegan website, which offers a NYC veggie restaurant guide, there are currently 44 strictly vegan restaurants in the Big Apple. There are 48 that self-identify as mostly vegan and 31 listed as vegetarian.


mv said...

I don't think there are less people asking for veggie meals at regular restaurants, rather, I think there are more veggie restaurants available now, so, vegetarians no longer have to frequent the regular establishments hoping to find some kind of animal-free meal option. I would argue that vegetarianism has grown so much that main stream restaurants are seeing less of them given the unprecedented availability of veggie-only establishments.

Duh. Tsk.

M said...

Another perspective is that in smaller urban centers such as my own, where the population couldn't support a vegetarian restaurant, I've found that restaurant menus have gone from having no vegetarian options (outside of tossed salad or fettuccine) to offering everything from veggie burgers to a multitude of Asian tofu dishes, grilled vegetable wraps. Plus, I find that most places now have dishes where the meat component is optional (e.g. fajitas offered with the choice of chicken or beef, or just veggies). This certainly isn't happening because of a decline in the interest in vegetarianism. If anything, more people (whether or not they're vegetarians) are seeking out vegetarian options.