University dining halls have notoriously bad food, but no student should be living off toast and breakfast potatoes every weekend. This is the unfortunate fate of many vegan students at Webster University.
Food options throughout the week are limited, but at least the University Center offers multiple vegan options such as rice bowls, beyond burgers and smoothies. On weekends, however, the only on-campus dining is available during an 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. lunch block and a 5-7 p.m. dinner block at Marletto’s. When Marletto’s is open, Sub Connection is rarely available, and Wild Mushroom serves the same mediocre stir fry every weekend.
Without that diversity, weekends become a repetitive cycle of a piece of fruit, toast, potatoes and maybe a fruit juice for vegan students. Luckily, if you are willing to walk for a few minutes, the world is your oyster. Consider this your local guide to being a vegan in Webster Groves.
While you could walk to Starbucks to get your weekend coffee, consider trying The Annex instead. With house-made syrups, multiple milk substitutes and a cozy atmosphere, The Annex is a perfect place to study and hang out. My personal order is a cappuccino with lavender syrup and oat milk, but you’d have to work hard to order a bad drink there.
Allow me to admit something. Until very recently, I had never tried the Balkan Treat Box. As a vegan, sometimes I avoid trying new restaurants because I do not want to end up eating another boring salad. However, I’m begging you: please do not repeat my mistake of missing out.
The Balkan Treat Box is a Bosnian restaurant with multiple vegan options. The service is quick, and the staff is incredibly patient, especially when considering the restaurant’s popularity. I tried the Lahmacun, a rolled flatbread filled with plant-based meat, onion and a hint of lemon. I’ll go back to try all the vegan options, but its only weekend hours are from 11 a.m. -3 p.m. on Saturdays, so plan ahead and get there on time.
Want an elevated dinner experience? Cyrano’s Cafe is the type of place for when you and your friends want to dress up and feel fancy without the fancy restaurant price tag. While the options aren’t the most groundbreaking and are a little more limited than the Balkan Treat Box, Cyrano’s still has a few salads that can easily be made vegan and a house-made veggie burger. Both are a good change of pace from Marletto’s.
These are three of my recommendations, but they are not the only ones. The Garden Cafe, Starbucks and St. Louis Bread Co. are all also within walking distance of Webster. Everyone needs a break from campus food every once in a while, especially the vegans on campus with limited options.
Webster University boasts its inclusive meal options, but the options are extremely limited and, frankly, bland. Meal plans are expensive. Students with meal plans should have good, healthy and affordable options that fit their lifestyles.
While it can be incredibly frustrating to have to work so hard for meals that taste good and that fit your diet and lifestyle, know that you are not alone in that feeling. Get outside, go for a walk near campus and try some good vegan food.