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Bay Area's "Best of Veg 2006" - Vote Now!
Survey Highlights Great Vegetarian Dining in the San Francisco Bay Area
Bay Area Vegetarians (BAVeg), one of the largest regional grassroots vegetarian advocacy groups in the U.S., is holding its fourth annual BEST OF VEG survey. Since 2003, the BEST OF VEG survey has recognized outstanding vegetarian dining in the San Francisco Bay Area based on the votes of Bay Area residents.
Now, and through November 15th, diners can vote for their favorite restaurants online at http://www.bayareaveg.org/vote and be eligible to win special prizes, including vegan ice cream or the secrets of vegan baking.
The impetus for establishing this annual survey is to raise awareness of how easy it is to dine with compassion and good health, vegetarian-style, and to recognize the businesses that provide the best in vegetarian foods. Any opportunity to increase awareness of vegetarian and vegan foods is an excellent opportunity to help the animals.
This year’s survey includes categories for:
BEST VEGAN FOODS (at both vegetarian and non-vegetarian restaurants)
Best Asian, Indian, Mexican and Raw Cuisine
Best Veggie Burger
BEST IN CLASS categories for Vegetarian restaurants
By location (San Francisco, East Bay, North Bay and South Bay)
Best New Restaurant
Best Special Occasion Restaurant
Best Everyday Food
Best Restaurant for a Casual Veggie Date
Best Overall Vegetarian Restaurant
Best Overall Vegan Restaurant
With 99 vegetarian restaurants locally, BAVeg uses the most popular choices from its Ultimate Guide to Vegetarian Living in the SF Bay Area to determine the initial selections for the 30-question survey.
"The BEST OF VEG survey let’s people vote for the many great restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area that cater to vegetarians," says BAVeg Vice-President and co-founder Chris James. "Unlike typical surveys where vegetarian restaurants have only one category, our survey has multiple categories that help define the best places to eat when you want a pizza, burger, or go out for a casual date or special occasion. Past winners proudly post their BEST OF VEG award certificates prominently in their establishments so that customers know they are local favorites."
2005 BEST OF VEG winners are:
Best East Bay Restaurant- Cha Ya
Best North Bay Restaurant- Slice Of Life
Best San Francisco Restaurant- Millennium
Best South Bay and Peninsula Restaurant- BayLeaf Cafe
Overall Best Vegan Restaurant - Millennium
Overall Best Vegetarian Restaurant - Herbivore
Like the Ultimate Guide, the Best of Veg survey is both an outreach effort and advocacy tool. Restaurants with excellent vegetarian foods are recognized and thanked, and the public is educated on the best places to dine vegetarian. The Ultimate Guide makes it easy for people to find vegetarian foods with category searches, or even using an address and search radius. Even just googling for keywords can yield great results. For example, if you’re looking for “vegan pizza Oakland”, the top 2 results are listings from the Ultimate Guide for Pizza Plaza and Lanesplitter Pizza and Pub.
Pizza Plaza is a great example of advocacy and community support in action. In September 2005, a local vegan convinced Pizza Plaza to offer vegan pizza and a selection of faux vegan meats as toppings. One year later, to the delight of veggie pizza lovers, Pizza Plaza is now the Bay Area's first 100% vegetarian pizzeria.
To many, the San Francisco Bay Area is a Mecca for vegetarians. With 27 vegetarian restaurants in the city of San Francisco alone, it seems like that reputation is well-deserved. Yet not all parts of the Bay Area are created equal. SF has more vegan restaurants in its city boundaries than the number of vegetarian restaurants in the North Bay (9) and Peninsula (3) combined. The South Bay has 32 vegetarian restaurants, with an emphasis on Indian foods, while the East Bay has 17.
So, celebrate October as Vegetarian Awareness Month by checking out veg*n foods and veg*n restaurants near you, and then vote for your favorites in the BEST OF VEG 2006 survey.
BEST OF VEG 2006 annual survey – http://bayareaveg.org/vote
Ultimate Guide to Vegetarian Living in the SF Bay Area – http://bayareaveg.org/ug
Pizza Plaza - http://www.bayareaveg.org/ug/display.htm?id=579
Vegan Baking Class – http://bayareaveg.org/cooking
Based in San Mateo County, which has only 1 vegetarian restaurant, Bay Area Vegetarians is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with over 3,500 members throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. BAVeg regularly hosts a variety of events to promote vegetarian living, including lectures, restaurant outings and film screenings. To learn more about BAVeg and the many resources it offers, visit http://www.bayareaveg.org