Friday, December 2, 2016

Arooga's!

Arooga's is a sports bar with locations mostly in Pennsylvania - though there are stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey and New York.

The chain is known for it's chicken wings which, of course, are not vegan.  They do now have Chicken Free Chicken Sticks which their menu tells us are vegetarian.  I was told that they were also vegan so I was thrilled!  I used to love chicken wings and now I could have the same flavor in a meat-free alternative.

I convinced my meat-eating boyfriend to accompany me to the restaurant one day when we were in the area.  I ordered the chicken-free sticks and the waitress asked which sauce I wanted.  I asked which sauces were vegan and she said she didn't know but went off to find out.  Much later, she arrived back at our table to report that none of them were.  She had asked 4 different managers and that was what she was told.

Now, I knew this was wrong because a member of my vegan Facebook group mentioned that her boyfriend is a manager at another location and he had investigated for her and told her which ones were vegan.  I didn't have that list with me, however, so I ordered them plain.  They really are tasty all on their own, to be honest.  The menu mentions that they are made by Beyond Meat - which is a good meat-substitute company and they really created a quality product.  I was not happy, however, that I couldn't have a sauce on them.

I reported my experience to those in my vegan group and received varying and contrary information about which sauces are vegan.  I decided to contact the restaurant, myself, to try to clear up the confusion.

It turns out that the confusion might have to do with vegans who consume honey and vegans who don't.  Most vegans I know do not eat honey but some do.  The regional manager sent me a list broken down between those that contain honey, but no other animal products, and those that do not contain ANY animal products.  Here they are:

If you consume honey the following are vegan:
honey bbq
sweet and tangy
almost everything
general tso
red thai

100 % vegan:
hot
mild
medium
kangarooga

So! K and I made a return trip where I had the chicken-free chicken strips with medium sauce. Yummy and absolutely worth the effort I put into finding out what I can eat. The bonus was that the regional manager told me that he would be sure that all the locations were aware of which sauces were vegan and, sure enough, my vegan friend with the manager boyfriend told me he received this information!

Once again, I think I've proven that asking for information can yield the results that you want if you are persistent enough.

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