Abilene Vegan Guide

Let’s eat vegan in Abilene, Texas, about two hours west of DFW. You’ll notice a lot of chain restaurants on this list. Partly, this is because chain restaurants abound in Abilene. Partly, it’s because it’s easier to verify whether dishes are vegan when you’re dealing with national chains. As always, please let me know if anything on this list is inaccurate or out-of-date. If you live in Abilene, consider asking area restaurants to carry more vegan options.

Abi-Haus—vegan French toast at brunch, y’all! Lunch and dinner options aren’t quite as exciting, but ask about the seasonal veggie plate and seasonal pasta. If nothing else, you can have an avocado and tomato sandwich on sourdough (hold the cheese).

Bangkok Thai—In theory, some menu items can be modified to be vegan. However many diners report communication issues. Ask about fish sauce, shrimp paste, and eggs in tofu dishes. Beware of the veggie egg roll which contains chicken.

Bonzai Japanese Steakhouse—The usual edamame and avocado, cucumber, or vegetable sushi rolls. For hibachi, order the vegetarian delight and ask for them to cook with oil instead of butter.

Denny’s—Denny’s now carries Amys vegan burgers. A number of the vegetables and sides are vegan. If you’re here for breakfast, you can get oatmeal (no milk) or grits (no butter) with fruit on the side.

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop—A Texas chain. Tortillas, grilled veggies, black beans, refried beans, lime rice, and fried potatoes are vegan. Combine them into a taco, burrito, salad, or fajitas. Allergen/vegan menu is available online (pdf).

Genghis Grill—The usual Mongolian Grill experience. Their website charmingly proclaims, All diets welcome! Choose your vegetables (including tofu), sauce, and starch (vegan choices include white rice, brown rice, or udon noodles). Ask for their nutrition menu when you get there if you want to look over the sauces to see which are vegan or check it out online. If seeing your food cooked on the communal grill bothers you, most places like this will cook your food in a separate wok.

Jason’s Deli—Chain sandwich shop that has a small vegan menu (pdf) online.

Johnny Carino’s—A chain restaurant. Try the angel hair pasta with artichokes (no parmesan) and a house salad without croutons or cheese. Or order a pasta dish with tomato sauce and vegetables (no cheese). I’ve eaten at this chain a number of times, and it’s decent if unexciting.

Middle East—Unsurprisingly, this restaurant serves Middle Eastern food. The usual hummus, baba ganouj, tabouley, fatoush, along with a few more unusual options like peayas, described as cubes of potato with mint, onion, lemon, and olive oil. Menu is online at Yelp.

Natural Food Center—This health food store includes a small restaurant with daily vegan options including soup, tamales, burritos, chili, smoothies, and more. Grab a vegan dessert from the grocery section on your way out.

Natural Grocers—This grocery store carries many vegan-friendly convenience foods and specialty products like dairy-free cheese and yogurt.

Red Robin—Another chain with a vegan Boca burger and a robust salad bar. Be sure to ask for the Boca burger as the standard Gardenburger contains cheese.

Subway—The veggie delite. We’ve all succumbed to this sandwich at one time or another. Secret vegan trick: buy a bag of potato chips and stuff ’em in your sandwich. And then send a letter to subway asking them to add more vegan options.

Ta Molly’s Mexican—order meatless fajitas and they’ll load you up with mushrooms and tomatoes along with the usual peppers and onions

Tokyo Asia Fusion—Beyond the usual avocado, cucumber, and veggie roll, Tokyo Asia also has a sweet potato roll and an aspargus roll. Or order the hibachi vegetable dinner. Ask for your vegetables to be cooked in oil instead of butter.

Vegan Guide to Waco

Y’all, a photo of vegans and or vegan stuff in Waco that I can (legally) get where everyone is wearing their clothes (thanks, PETA!) doesn’t exist. But look! Dr. Pepper. Visit the Dr. Pepper museum next time you drive through Waco. Photo by Rich Anderson. Licensed under creative commons

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.

Mama Fu’s—Casual Asian-inspired food. See a list of their vegan menu options here.

Pei Wei—Fast casual Asian food. See a list of their vegan items here at Vegan Eating Out.

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.