Moab was truly the most vegan friendly city I found on my tour of Utah. I was blessed to find places that offered a veg option in the smallest of Utah towns but I found the most variety in Moab. One of the first things my mother did was pick up a 2015 Moab Menu Guide and I referenced it often. The menu guide was especially useful for pointing out places that wanted $8.00 for a bowl of quinoa or $17.00 for a pizza. Perhaps it’s amazing quinoa and pizza but I am not in a place in my life where I don’t blink an eye at those sorts of prices. I’m not sure I’ll ever be in that place. So, frugality being the word of the day, what’s a thrifty vegan to do after a long day in Arches? The answer? Zax!
I admit I did not set out to eat at Zax. My family and I were hungry and, no one having made a decision on where to eat, we started down Main Street. We’d driven a couple of blocks when this caught my eye.
Any place with open flame couldn’t be all bad and, from the street, it looked like tables were open. My family was game and we found a parking place. Patrons ebbed and flowed from Zax’s side door but we were assured a 10 to 15 minute wait so we claimed spaces on the bench and perused the menu. Some of the prices made me wince but I’d seen worse. The Zax Tasty Wrap sounded good and its $8.99 price tag included fries and a pickle. I could wrap both my head and my budget around that and even paid the extra $1.50 for hummus. The water with lemon was free so I felt fairly comfortable with my order. My family ordered the pizza buffet so I was left alone to wait.
I did not have to wait long. Zax has amazing service and my Tasty Wrap lived up to its name. The veggies were fresh and crisp, my tomato/basil tortilla another layer of flavor, and and Zax kindly left the cheese out of my wrap. I could have done without the balsamic vinaigrette topping: I’d ordered it thinking a tangy topping would be good and it was; it was also messy. The fries were crisp without being greasy or salty and I love pickles. I ate everything on my plate. My mother was questioning that last piece of pizza she ate so we both chose to walk the two and a half blocks to the motel. We left, pleased with our dining choice. I’d definitely go to Zax again.
After Moab, I was consigned to veggie burgers until we reached Hurricane, Utah and JB’s Restaurant. I’ve gotten in the habit of asking locals where to eat because; who better to suggest something than someone who lives there? My local expert did not suggest JB’s Restaurant but rather Triple TJ’s Cafe. I googled it and saw the had a veggie burger. Great. But, if my family wanted burgers, I’d eat another veggie burger. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your point of view; Triple TJ’s had closed by the time we arrived. What luck?! JB’s was open and JB’s had a salad bar.
Salad bars can be tricky. I’m sure we’ve all experienced the old, limp greens, mushy veggies, all dairy based dressings, and no beans salad bars before. Not so with JB’s. The salad bar was like manna from heaven. The greens were fresh and crisp, the veggies tasted like they’d been picked that day (and the radishes were refreshed while I stood at the bar), there were beans, pickled beets, sunflower seeds, baby corn, carrots, fresh fruit…a cornucopia of veggie goodness. And, best of all, JB’s had a taco bar where two sorts of beans were offered. I piled my plate full with salad guaranteed to satisfy any vegan (or non-vegan:) ) and made myself a taco with chili beans, lettuce, and salsa. I remember JB’s as being the best restaurant I ate at in Utah. That may be because I ate there after three days of veggie burgers but I didn’t imagine the freshness of their ingredients. My pictures don’t due JB’s justice but I managed to snap some before my camera battery died.
So, perhaps the locals are right and Triple TJ’s is the place to eat. I recommend giving JB’s a try. There is enough on their salad bar and buffet to satisfy vegans and non-vegans alike. As someone who tries to be a healthy vegan, I’m grateful to Zax an JB’s for offering fresh and fabulous veg-friendly food.