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Springdale, Utah: A Vegetarian Oasis

[1]

As a vegetarian, I often lower my culinary expectations when traveling because sometimes I’m faced with pretty limited options.  I was pleasantly surprised when we reached Springdale, Utah. A small town right outside of the Zion National Park gates.

Springdale is about three hours outside of Las Vegas Funny enough, I discovered the vegetarian options even before we set foot into a restaurant. In our room at the Cable Mountain Lodge [2]was a Zion Canyon Visitors and Menu guide so I was able to check out all the options from the comfort of our couch. Just from perusing that guide, I deemed Springdale a “vegetarian oasis.”

On the same property as our lodge was the Sol Foods Restaurant [3] with vegetable wraps, mezza platters and a salad bar of which they boast is the “largest and freshest in town.” Right across the parking lot was Thai Sapa [4] which marked over fifteen items on its menu as vegetarian. They state that their “eclectic menu features dishes from Thailand, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, and Springdale.”  Meanwhile, the Whiptail Gourmet Grill [5]features a sesame encrusted tofu while the Zion Pizza and Noodle Company [6]has a vegetable calzone.

During our stay, we ate at two of the restaurants in the menu guide. Our first stop was the Pioneer Restaurant [7].

We arrived at around 4:45, before the dinner rush, apparently. We couldn’t quite help it because we were still on East Coast time and were starving.

This café/diner had six vegetarian options on its menu including a veggie burger (with all the trimmings), a double veggie burger, veggie lasagna, grilled veggie sandwich and a cold vegetable sandwich. Order a 16 ounce beer, and you’ll be served in a strong arm mug. If you’re not so adventurous, order a 10oz beer and it will be served in a boot.

The enchilada came to the table piping hot served atop a bed of rice. I remarked that it tasted slightly like an Amy’s brand enchilada, but it didn’t really look like it. It’s a hearty option after a long day’s hike. It doesn’t have a lot of “zip” to it, so be sure to take the server up on her offer for Tabasco sauce.

The wild mushroom ravioli is another hearty option. It came to the table a little undercooked and the mushroom stuffing could have used an additional ingredient that I couldn’t put my finger on – either basil or just a bit more salt. So, I wouldn’t describe it as “amazing” like the menu did but it was pretty tasty.

Later on in the week, we ate at the Bit and Spur Restaurant and Saloon [8], a Mexican restaurant and cantina, which had at least five items on its menu that are vegetarian. This restaurant had a great casual atmosphere which served up  some great margaritas and guacamole. They have a seasonal menu and house favorites available all year long.

The mushroom stuffed poblano was filled with sautéed mushrooms and goat cheese and served over a smoked cheddar sauce. (The original version also has toasted walnuts but they were kind enough to leave them out due to a walnut allergy.) The beautiful field green salad served alongside the poblano had a zesty balsamic vinegar dressing and was refreshing after a long day of hiking.

The butternut squash cannelloni, had a blend of spinach, shallots, goat cheese atop a flavorful heirloom tomato sauce. This dish was also served with the same leafy salad served with the poblano.

The chile relleno was stuffed with jack cheese and served with black beans, rice and salad. When asked how it tasted, my friend noted that it was really good but “her homemade version was better.” She explained that it’s because she separates the eggs then whips the whites separately from the yolks before coating the chile and frying them. (I’ll have to get her recipe.) Oh well, two out of three ain’t bad.

Springdale, Utah was a huge surprise for me. Even the local grocery store [9] had a lot of vegetarian provisions available which certainly helped after completing some challenging hikes like the one’s we did!

Pioneer Restaurant [7]
838 Zion Park Blvd.
Springdale, UT

Bit and Spur Restaurant and Saloon [8]
1212 Zion Park Boulevard
Springdale, UT