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7-8-15 Adventists Visitors a Mixed Blessing to San Antonio Restaurants
by V. Michelle Bernard

Casa Rio offers a separate vegetarian menu with a taco including vegetarian meat.
Restaurants near the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio "beefed up" their vegetarian menus in anticipation of the 6oth Session of the General Conference (GC). But, the results are mixed, they say.
Casa Rio created a special vegetarian menu, including a taco with veggie meat from Loma Linda. Jennifer, a server at the restaurant located on the Riverwalk, says less people are eating the vegetarian options than management had planned. But she has received positive feedback on the expanded menus as well as the Sabbath meal options that allow people to pre-pay for meals, including a tip.
  Marriott's extra vegan and vegetarian options require a lot of extra work.

An employee from the Marriott Riverwalk was disappointed with the amount of business compared to the amount of preparation that went into creating extra vegan and vegetarian options for a menu for the 10-day event. 
The Aramark food booth just outside the main entrance of the Alamodome has had better luck with their new vegetarian menu options. During the session, the stall sells Gardenburgers, fruit cups, peanuts, nachos and bottled water. Workers say they estimate they sell between 40 and 200 burgers a day.

Maria Mia Mexican Bistro, a restaurant close to the Marriott Riverwalk, didn’t modify their menu before the convention. However, after the influx of GC session visitors, they noticed more customers making substitutions to menu items, most commonly ordering pork-free black beans.
“We’re seeing more vegetables [ordered] than we’ve ever seen on the Riverwalk," says server Joey Guerrero. The restaurant then stocked up on extra vegetables and adjusted. “They are leaving very satisfied.” We aren’t seeing a bunch of alcohol sales, but we are selling a bunch of virgin drinks, so the bar is still busy.”

Some restaurants, such as Hendricks, are offering both vegan and vegetarian options.  

Luciano, an Italian restaurant also located close to the Marriot Riverwalk, had to stop allowing substitutions to items on the menu.  The extra preparation time was too much for the staff.  Mario Serna, general manager, says he’s working more hours than usual to keep up with the convention crowd.
“Most of [the] preparation and time that we are spending is based on cutting the vegetables.” The top sellers are eggplant and grilled vegetables, he says. The bar has been mostly serving juice.
When asked why he thinks this group has different eating habits, he says he’s not sure. “I don’t know if it is part of the religion or the way they were raised. I haven’t had time to ask anyone.”




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