Veggie shakes, rattle and roll
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1998:
BERKELEY, California––You’ll find few obviously vegan or
vegetarian items on the lengthy menu at Michael’s American Vegetarian
Diner––and you’ll see an icon of crossed fingers alongside more than 100
items, including six kinds of hot dog, 10 kinds of burger, and dozens of
alleged chicken, beef, turkey, pork and fish items.
Explains the menu cover, “At Michael’s, all of our food is made
from vegetable, grain, dairy or soy products. There is no meat, poultry, or
fish served or used in this diner.”
“We see this as a transitionary place,” says co-proprietor Dan
Sklar (above, left), who came to veganism as part of a spiritual quest.
“Many of the people coming in here aren’t yet familiar with vegan
or vegetarian food. We think if we can give them familiar textures and
tastes, we can help get them hooked on a healthier and more compassionate
way of life.”
Located at 2650 Telegraph Avenue, six blocks from the University
of California at Berkeley, Michael’s has already survived three years in an
intensely competitive market.
The decor and music are “Fabulous Fifties,” the building was originally
an International House of Pancakes, and the clientele includes growing
numbers of people like Tim Moellering ( right).
A history teacher and baseball coach at Willard Junior High
School, kitty-corner across the street, Moellering admits he has thought
about becoming a vegetarian for 20 years or more, but didn’t because it
wasn’t convenient for a bachelor who rarely eats at home.