By Sarah-Louise Ruder
On the case of vegging out
Going to university can be a challenging transition — adjusting to academics, new city, making friends.
It is also an exciting chance to become independent and try new things. This newfound freedom is a great opportunity to leave behind habits that don’t feel in line with how you see yourself. If you have ever considered trying to avoid meat and animal products in your diet, this could be the perfect opportunity to make the leap.
To all vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, flexitarian, climatarian, and all other plant-based foodies, K-W is a welcoming place to live and explore communities of compassionate living. Regardless of whether you make dietary choices for health, ethics, justice, the environment, culture, or spiritual reasons, you can find like-minded individuals on and off campus. Despite being a smaller city, there is no shortage of vegan and vegan friendly places to eat, chat, study, and unwind.
If you venture off campus, you’ll be amazed at the variety of vegan and vegan-friendly establishments.
For the herbivores:
Copper Branch: A newer addition to KW, this vegan restaurant has an exciting and trendy menu. Even skeptical omnivores will be impressed with their poutine and brownies.
Fresh Grounds and Café Pyrus: These two cafés in downtown Kitchener serve amazing wholesome vegan meals at student-friendly prices. Their vegan burgers are omnivore-approved. Take the bus down for lunch and stay to catch up with a friend or catch up on some readings.
Jane Bond: This vegetarian restaurant and bar has a delicious menu where everything is made from scratch. With live music and events, this can be a great place for weekly drinks with friends or a vegan first date.
For when you have to compromise
There are also many great places to eat with vegan options on a diverse menu. Keep these in mind if you are looking to go out for dinner with omnivorous friends.
Seven Shores: You will experience a sense of community around local food at this cooperative café. There is a diverse menu, though their fresh spring rolls and vegan baked goods are irresistible.
Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria: This is a great option for a sit-down dinner or when your family is town. The staff are very accommodating to make adjustments and their fire toasted vegan pizzas are guaranteed to please.
Taco Farm: Supporting local farmers, you can enjoy taco night with options for you and your friends. This option is also gluten-free and celiac safe.
Right here on campus
When you’re studying and getting hungry, it’s important to have some options for quick vegan food. A couple vegan favourites are the falafel from South Side Marketplace in South Campus Hall and the samosas from the Environment Student Coffee Shop (only $1.25 on Mondays). FRSH in Applied Health Sciences has some options that you can make vegan. You can get vegan sushi from Wasabi Sushi in the Student Life Centre or Browsers Café in Dana Porter Library.
Organizations and Resources
Whether you are a seasoned vegan or just trying things out, it really helps to surround yourself with people who support similar values and opinions. A great place to start is the UW Animal Rights Society, where you can find information on veganism, volunteer for animal rights events, and meet some great humans. You can also find food and friends at Vegeration: UW’s Vegetarian and Vegan Club.
For many vegans in the community, the K-W Vegan Society on Facebook is a lifeline. This non-profit organization brings together plant-based dieters with community events, but also hosts an online forum for all things vegan, from where to find cheap produce to reviews on local restaurants. There are many local organizations to check out, like Food Not Bombs and Kitchener-Waterloo Climate Save.