Veggie Friendly

Meagan Nutt--Extreme Pita is one of the local restaurants that provides vegetarian options.

They are hidden in napkins, held under tongues and maybe even fed to the dog. For many children, eating vegetables is simply not an option. When vegetables are found on their plates, it is seen as a challenge to dispose of as many as possible without actually consuming any.

Convincing children to eat the recommended three to five daily servings of vegetables seems to be a never ending battle. This is part of the reason why it is almost impossible to find a scrumptious vegetarian-friendly restaurant.

Believe it or not, some of these vegetable-abusing children have grown up and now choose to eat primarily vegetables instead of meat. There are plenty of options for vegetarians at the grocery store like tofu and other soy based products.

Vegetarians like to go out to eat. However, it is much more difficult to find a restaurant that offers any variety of meatless meals without spending a fortune.

Indeed, most restaurants offer a few select vegetarian options which are more often than not, bland pastas or salads. It seems that most restaurants correlate lack of meat with lack or flavor, interest and variety. There are a few restaurants here in Riverside that understand how to cook for vegetarians and offer an array of mouth-watering dishes that will not leave a hole in your wallet.

The first restaurant is The Dragon House, off of Magnolia Avenue and Tyler Street. When initially walking into the restaurant, you get the vibe of any typical Chinese restaurant. The place is full of fake flowers and plants, random Chinese trinkets and three or four golden Buddha statues. After being seated and looking at the menu, you see what sets The Dragon House apart from other restaurants. There are two pages entirely devoted to vegetarians.

Anything that can be ordered on the regular menu can be made vegetarian-friendly. From chicken fried rice to broccoli and beef, everything can be made with a soy based product without losing all of the delicious flavors. Each meal comes with soup, egg rolls, a fried wonton, and a side of rice. Prices for the vegetarian meals range from six to nine dollars. For those who like to get their food fast, the service is fantastic. Food usually arrives about ten minutes after ordering.

If looking for something with a more casual setting, another great option in Riverside can be found at Extreme Pita located in Canyon Crest Plaza. Extreme Pita is similar to Quiznos or Subway. The sandwich is made in front of the customer but instead of sandwich bread; they use pita pockets.

What sets this place apart even more as a vegetarian-friendly place is the restaurant not only offers a pita pocket with just vegetables; they serve a falafel pita pocket.

Falafel is an Arabic food that is similar to a meat ball but is made of chick peas and fava beans. The falafel pita pocket can be prepared with any sort of dressings and vegetables to suit any pallet so nobody is missing out on any of the flavors. You can get a picket pocket, chips, and a drink all for around 7 dollars.

Former employee Ema Batongmalque said,

“Extreme Pita is a delicious eater. They have great veggie options including falafel, pizzas made on pita bread, and chef inspired salads. Their homemade pita chips with a side of hummus or tzatziki sauce is a great snack during study time. The menu is priced appropriately, and they have a rewards point system that sends you great discounts via text message about once a week. Take it from a veteran employee, it’s definitely a place to try.”

The last destination is a coffee shop in downtown Riverside off of University Avenue and Orange Street called Back to the Grind.

This coffee shop is definitely one of the most unique coffee shops in Riverside. From the unique furniture and the mini library to the array of local artist’s work being displayed, Back to the Grind is a coffee shop that welcomes all.

Aside from basic coffee shop staples like mochas and smoothies, Back to the Grind offers not only vegetarian but vegan-friendly items. The shop offers simple items such as a vegan-friendly pizza or grilled cheese sandwich.

“Back to the Grind not only has great coffee, but they also have sinfully delectable grilled cheese”, Jeff Paulson, a sophomore at California Baptist University, said. “I always get one if I can get enough change.”

They even have vegan cookies, brownies and cakes. All food and drinks that are served have a familiar homemade taste that keeps people coming back for more. Although they may not have as much variety because they are a coffee shop, the atmosphere and friendly faces are well worth the experience.

There are no reasons that vegetarians should stay at home, or deprive themselves of flavor. All three of these places are great examples of vegetarian friendly restaurants right here in Riverside, whose appetizing menu will keep you coming back for more.