Dining out when you're a vegetarian – or your child is – can be a challenging experience when it comes to finding menu items that don't violate your food code. If you're vegan, the calculus gets even more difficult when animal products are out of the picture.
But, whether you're on the veg train or just focused on better eating, that doesn't have to hamper your travels in the D, thanks to Seva Restaurant.
A cheer went up when the beloved Ann Arbor vegetarian restaurant opened an outpost in Detroit's Midtown neighborhood in 2012.
Seva is the kind of place you'd go to eat even if there is not a vegetarian among you – in fact, says owner Maren Jackson, only about 10 percent of their customers are vegetarian. The food is made in house from the freshest ingredients and proves how tasty healthier options can be.
That's as true for kids as it is for adults. Jackson says when she and her husband bought the Ann Arbor location from its first owners, they had two toddlers and were familiar on a first-hand basis with the frustrations of trying to feed children well while eating out. Their kids menu that resulted offers real, well-made food that isn't dumbed down for younger diners.
"People think all kids like is processed food, or things they see advertised on TV that come with a toy," Jackson says. "But everyone likes real, fresh flavors, and kids are no different. If they enjoy the flavor of their food, they're going to not just be eating more healthfully but creating good habits that will last through their life."
Popular kids' items include the penne pasta, which comes with marinara sauce and Parmesan on the side so kids can dip it, sweet potato fries and the vegan mac and cheese, made with Daiya-brand vegan cheese and gluten-free noodles. Meals come with side dishes like kale salad if fries or chips are a no-go.
"We get a lot of appreciative remarks from families who come and say it's hard to find a kid-friendly menu at a place that makes their own food, let alone has some vegan options," Jackson says.