A Snooty Vegan’s Very Incomplete Guide to Fast, Fast Casual and Casual Restaurant Chains

Go for the bathrooms. Or don’t. Hold it in. I don’t care. Go vegan.

Marla Rose
5 min readJul 15, 2021


Credit: Unsplash

Quick note: I haven’t been to all of these chains’ bathrooms. Also, I am not sure why I wrote this.


Not only is Arby’s Jon Stewart’s favorite punchline, I have a vague pre-vegan memory of sticky booths, something called Horsey Sauce (???) and it being the kind of place you could eat at on babysitters’ wages, which, not coincidentally, was what I was earning the last time I ate there.


Decent bathrooms in a pinch.

That’s all I’ve got.

Burger King

It smells extra charred in here. Beggars can’t be choosers but unless I’m in the middle of nowhere and I have a four-alarm bathroom emergency, I avoid them.

Taco Bell

The main thing I know about Taco Bell is there’s a kind of secret handshake wink-wink, nudge-nudge language for ordering vegan (“fresco” means dairy-free, I guess, which is pretty easy but it fills me with anxiety for some reason so I do not make a run for this border). I also know that vegans kind of lost their collective shit when Taco Bell stomped on our potato-shaped hearts briefly and took spuds off the menu. You do not get between vegans and potatoes, especially not during a pandemic. The taters are back on the menu. Vegans are still giving them the side-eye.


This is going to be a little longer because, damn it, Panera, listen to me. Listen to me. It’s time for a little tough-love. Would you PLEASE just add freaking chickpeas to your menu? Marinated tofu? I’m not asking for anything fancy. I am not even asking for you to jump on the bandwagon and get something like Beyond Meat (you’d be smart to do so, though it’d be long overdue) for your herbivorous guests but it is so confounding and frustrating that you are so close yet so far away. Why is this?

Annnnything plant-based would do, but expecting vegans to omit eggs, cheese, chicken, etc. from menu items while still paying full price for it and not…