I know, I know. Waco? But really, vegans live there. And for those of us in either DFW or Austin, vegans drive through there. I’m definitely in that category, and I’m always looking for a good place to stop halfway between Austin and DFW.
That said, I don’t live in Waco. So let me know if I’ve left something off or misrepresented something. [Updated 10/16/16]
Bangkok Royal—Thai restaurant with a special vegetarian menu, which you have to ask for. Alternatively, ask you waiter to suggest something vegan. Like all Thai restaurants, it’s a good idea to double check that your entree doesn’t contain fish sauce, shrimp paste, or egg.
BJ’S Brewhouse—According to Autumn Gray in the comments, the staff at BJ’s Brewhouse in Waco is willing to work with vegans to come up with off-menu options. That makes it a good option for getting drinks with a mixed group of friends.
Chipotle—What can I say about Chipotle? It’s fast, it’s filling, and it’s better than Taco Bell. Multiple locations.
Drug Emporium—A drugstore/pharmacy hybrid with lots of specialty and vegan-friendly products like Vegenaise, soy milk, and Earth Balance. The atmosphere can kindly be described as “a little worse for the wear.”
D’s Mediterranean Grill—The usual hummus, tabouleh, baba ghanouj, and pita. I haven’t tried their falafel, so I’m not sure if it’s vegan.
Enchanted Cedar—Located on I-35 just south of Waco, this cute little store and restaurant serves allergen-free treats like raw chocolates, smoothies, juices, fermented foods, cashew ice creams, as well as occasional daily specials.
The Epicurean Chef—Vegan personal chef serving the Waco area
Johnny Carino’s—A chain Italian restaurant, Carino’s has a few solid vegan options. Try the house salad (no cheese or croutons), Angel Hair with Artichokes (no cheese), or a create your own pasta dish with either Tomato or Spicy Marinara. And, lucky you, the bread that comes to the table is vegan.
Provender Store—Focused local and organic food, Provender’s menu changes seasonally. Menu has several clearly marked vegan items, including sandwiches, salads, and mains.
Souper Salad—Chain buffet with rotating vegan specials. They post their daily menu online and you can filter by vegan options. At the time of this writing, today’s vegan specials are Gazpacho Salad, Baked Potato, Sweet Potato, Fiery Roasted Corn, plus the usual salad bar vegetables.
Teriyaki Park—Edamame and the usual vegan sushi rolls (cucumber, avocado, veggie). They have a vegetable udon dish which may or may not be vegan (ask about eggs in the noodles and any nonvegan broth in the dish.)
Terry and Jo’s Food for Thought—Sandwiches, burritos, and pizzas that are vegan if you ask for “no cheese”
Torchy’s Tacos—Good vegan tacos are now available in Waco. Huzzah! It’s a bit tricky navigating the vegan options here. They’re listed on their website. You probably want to study up/make a cheat sheet before going. And, if your party is divided on Torchy’s (my friend Lazy Smurf refuses to eat there), it’s next door to Taco Bell. Tacos for everyone!
Which Which—At the First Federal building at Valley Mills and Lake Air and at Baylor. Choose your own ingredients so you know exactly what is in your sandwich. White bread is vegan; wheat bread is not. They recently changed their black bean patty recipe, so now it’s vegan. I recommend: a toasted hummus sandwich with tomatoes, avocado, cucumbers, black olives, olive spread, salt, and pepper. See the rest of their vegan options here.
Zoe’s Kitchen—A fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant chain with vegan items marked on the menu. You’ll find the usual hummus and veggie kebab plate, but also lentil soup, braised white beans, and rice pilaf.