Sharing is Caring? Not Always

Often restaurants very clearly label fryers so there’s no confusion amongst cooks – this is how they do it at Jonny B’z. Easy to see the veg only sign!

In years past, the vegetarian platter from The Pita House was our go-to for a quick dinner. It’s the perfect Mediterranean sampler – grape leaves, salad, hummus or baba ganooj, falafel and pita bread- and always filling. Until one day we learned an inconvenient truth, a shared fryer.

For a long time into my plant-based journey, I’d never thought about a shared fryer. If I’m eating falafel, and all the ingredients in that falafel are vegan, then my dinner is vegan. But once I realized that falafel is fried in oil that also fries meat, that’s that. You can’t unlearn it.

Think about it. Chicken has fat. When you fry chicken in a deep fryer the grease from the chicken leaches out. Keep that going all day, and what starts out as veggie oil turns into, well, meat grease. Cook the falafel in that, is it vegan or is it actually chicken flavored falafel? How about fries flavored with chicken grease?

Once you start down this path, shared fryers cut off an awful lot of food around town. Mostly Mediterranean joints which include Parsley, The Pita House, Le Kabob – all have shared fryers. Sure you can still eat there. Hummus, baba ganooj, tabbouli, fattoush. But I’m not a vegan who settles for hummus and a salad. What’s that meal without falafel?!

But other spots on the guide using a shared fryer often have a large enough menu that you can avoid the fried foods and still have a great meal. This isn’t a deal breaker for everyone. If you’re trying to stick to a plant-based diet, you may want to look the other way – less likely for an ethical vegan. As we always try to, with issues like these, we do our best to point it out in a Guide review so you can make your own choices (as you’ll see on the Guide page for San Chez Bistro).

It’s a standard question for us these days, but we’ll definitely do a better job of keeping track. Here are those that we’re aware of (we’ll keep adding to this list as we learn about them):

  • The Commons
  • The Pita House
  • Parsley Mediterranean Bar & Grill
  • Le Kabob
  • San Chez Bistro
  • Hopcat
  • The Green Well
  • Maru Sushi & Grill

If you know of a spot on the guide that has a shared fryer, please let us know through our contact form so we can help verify and get it on the guide.

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