Sharing is Caring? Not Always

vegetarian only fryer at jonny bz in grand rapids michigan
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!

At least a couple of times a month, the veggie platter from Sami’s was our go-to for a quick dinner. On the way home, a quick in-and-out and you’re eating before you know it. That was until… we learned about the shared fryer.

I’ll be straight with you. For a long time into my plant-based journey, I’d never thought about a shared fryer. If I’m eating falafel, and falafel is vegan, then my dinner is vegan. But once you realize your falafel is fried in oil that also fries meat that’s that. You can’t unlearn that.

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?

Once you start down this path, shared fryers cut off an awful lot of food around town. Mostly Mediterranean joints which include Parsley, Sami’s, 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 all sorts of issues like this, we do our best to point it out the shared fryer 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, but we still learn of new ones every day. Here are those that we’re aware of (we’ll keep adding to this list as we learn about them):

  • The Commons
  • Sami’s Pita
  • Parsley Mediterranean Bar & Grill
  • Le Kabob
  • San Chez Bistro

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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Hi guys. Great topic. I had to write in. For me, restaurant, dinner party, and potluck eating falls under my policy of “If I didn’t make it, then I assume it is not 100% vegan”. There are too many rules and exceptions for even a “All Vegan” restaurant to get it all right all of the time. We have an amazing vegan bakery here in St. Pete (Valhalla–unreal!), but just this week, while unboxing a treat, we picked up the thin paper between the goodies and wondered if the bakery knows most wax and parchment paper isn’t vegan (usually coated… Read more »

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