Wesleyan is, perhaps not surprisingly, fairly easy to navigate for vegetarians. There are a decent amount of options—especially compared to the dining choices at a number of other colleges that I’ve visited. That being said, we over here at The Argus love ourselves a good list (myself especially), so what follows is one campus vegetarian’s ranking of the main lunch choices for the dirty, leaf-eating birds among us. Remember that my opinion is, as always, definitive, and anyone who cares to argue with me is wrong.

Let’s get started!

4. Red and Black. I’m not a frequent visitor to the Red and Black—I guess that comes with the territory, having been christened as a Cardinal under the Bennet roof as a first-year and only moving a few steps away to Hewitt as a sophomore. But it’s also because the lunch choices for the non-meat-eating crowd are kind of bleak. Let’s start with the good—lunch specials at this quaint café can be awesome, and staff are usually pretty lenient with subbing things out if need be. There’s some room to get creative with a build-your-own grilled cheese, and paired with soup, you have yourself a nice meal to inhale in the seven minutes you have before class. Beyond this, Vegheads are essentially limited to the classic tomato panino. Once in a while, this can be pleasant—kind of like how your bed at home is nice for that first night after spring semester. Then, of course, you realize that sleeping at home means you have to interact with members of your family, and the pleasant feeling fades away into disappointment and slight fear. That’s the tomato panino experience at the Red and Black. Don’t even get me started on the fact that the only veggie protein for sandwiches is hummus. That’s not even a sandwich. It’s bread. Just bread.

3. Summies. Summies can get you where you need to go. It has some decent dishes, and subs are pretty easy to make (but not if you text in your order—I’ve run into some trouble trying to make texting substitutions). But once you’ve tried the four or five options, you’ve tried them all. The lack of variety makes this a safe but boring choice, and you can find yourself getting stuck in a bit of a food rut, which is not good for your palate or for your stomach, particularly if you are a fan of the Summies burrito with roasted vegetables. As long as you Summies responsibly, though, this can be a decent place to stop on a weekday afternoon when you have a lot of time to kill. Just be sure to shell out for the side of sweet potato fries. Trust me, it’s worth the extra points.

2. Usdan. As far as ease and accessibility go, Usdan takes the cake. Plenty of different directions you can go, and typically it’s pretty easy to get a seat (other than at that dreaded 11:40 a.m. rush). The one downside is that you’ll probably have to wait in line for the best stuff—Mongolian Grill, or the sandwich line, or Kosher. The biggest reason Usdan takes the number-two spot is that there are a lot of opportunities to branch out, and the options change often enough to keep you on your toes. I’m happy 8 out of 10 times I’m going to Usdan lunch—which are good enough odds that I’ll bet on it most days. The biggest selling-point for vegetarians? Veg-out. I’m telling you all that if you’re sleeping on Veg-out, you are missing out on some of the best food Wesleyan has to offer on campus. Even for you carnivorous Cardinals, Veg-out is a great choice for fresh and varied food. There’s always something new there. It’s really kind of exciting to be a part of it.

1. ’Swings. A dark horse? Maybe. A controversial final pick? Obviously. I live for drama. Honestly, though, if you’re looking for a little variety, this is your best veggie choice. There’s always a solid lunch special, usually multiple choices, with non-meat substitutions. That’s not to mention your ’Swings staples—make your own sandwich options are vast, with multiple protein options, most importantly falafel (pro tip: get falafel and veggies in a wrap and ask for it pressed to get a makeshift panino). Garden bagel melts are a go-to for me, and avocado toast is always around if you had an extra bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch that morning and still feel a little full. Seitan, salads, solid conversation—if you need it, ’Swings has it for you. ’Swings is my veggie home. With enough points, it can be your home, too. Doesn’t that sound beautiful?


Spencer Arnold can be reached at sjarnold@wesleyan.edu.

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