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Do We Need An All Vegetarian Subway Here in L.A.?

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In honor of National Vegetarian Awareness Week, LAist is running a series of features and Q & As with our city's most prominent meat-free personalities. Stay tuned throughout the week for more.

Though vegetarians are hardly the majority in the United States, the sale of meat is down, and many more people are considering going meatless at least one day a week. But when it comes to fast food, there isn't much in terms of vegetarian food. At least not yet.

Sure, vegetarians can order a meal with the meat taken out, like In-N-Out's sans patty grilled cheese, but most establishments don't take care to craft something specifically for the plant-based crowd, which is steadily growing here in the U.S. Although those who are strictly vegetarian are in the minority (about 5% of the population according to a recent study by the Vegetarian Resource Group), between 30-40% of the country is interested in eating less meat-based diets.

One Angeleno has taken matters into his own hands, starting a campaign to have In-N-Out create another vegetarian item aside from the grilled cheese. All the while, it was announced that McDonalds will be opening an exclusively vegetarian outlet in India, featuring McAloo burgers and chickpea patties, and yet another meat-free option is opening in the region too -- Subway.

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Says Veg News:

"After the huge success of its vegan tasting menu and with continued support via animal-welfare group Compassion Over Killing’s We Love Subway campaign, Subway is set to open the world’s first all-vegetarian restaurant on a private university campus in Jalandhar, India. The Lovely Professional University, which openly promotes healthy eating and the consumption of vegetarian meals on campus, will debut the all-veg outlet September 4. Currently, American and European outlets only offer two vegetarian options, while all 280 Subway locations in India offer six vegetarian choices including aloo patty, veggi shammi, and garbanzo beans. Additionally, all Indian Subways refrain from selling beef."

Of course, this makes a bit more sense economically for an Indian chain. There, the majority of the population is either Hindu or Muslim, so these plant-based outlets are ideal. (For Muslims, the consumption of pork is prohibited in the Koran, and Hindus, who account for 80 percent of India's 1.2 billion population, consider the cow to be sacred.) But as interest grows here in America, we hope that there might be a few more options out there. Fine dining has adjusted, so perhaps fast food will too.