The Pitt News

Meatless Monday coming to Oakland

Aaron+Kutchner%2C+a+server+at+Red+Oak+Cafe%2C+serves+vegetarian+dishes+to+Kelly+Williams+%28left%29%2C+a+Ph.D+student+in+Public+Health%2C+and+Adelina+Malito+%28right%29%2C+a+Social+Work+Master%27s+student.++Nikki+Moriello++%7C+Visual+Editor+
Aaron Kutchner, a server at Red Oak Cafe, serves vegetarian dishes to Kelly Williams (left), a Ph.D student in Public Health, and Adelina Malito (right), a Social Work Master's student.  Nikki Moriello  | Visual Editor

Aaron Kutchner, a server at Red Oak Cafe, serves vegetarian dishes to Kelly Williams (left), a Ph.D student in Public Health, and Adelina Malito (right), a Social Work Master's student. Nikki Moriello | Visual Editor

Aaron Kutchner, a server at Red Oak Cafe, serves vegetarian dishes to Kelly Williams (left), a Ph.D student in Public Health, and Adelina Malito (right), a Social Work Master's student. Nikki Moriello | Visual Editor

By Shumeng Yang / Staff Writer

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A neighborhood group in Oakland is going green this Monday to draw vegetarian diners.

Though Oakland Business Improvement District’s Restaurant Week is semiannual, the community group in Oakland is introducing “Meatless Monday” as part of its first Restaurant Week of 2016, which runs from Jan. 18 to 23.

The 22 participating restaurants, including Primanti Bros, Fuel & Fuddle and 20 others will provide meatless menu options on Monday to draw attention to Restaurant Week and the environmental impact of consuming meat.

Twice a year, OBID hosts Restaurant Week to promote restaurants in Oakland and bring in new customers. The last event was in June 2015. During the six days of Restaurant Week, diners can choose from a specified list of $6 lunches at different restaurants around campus.

“By going meatless, we’ve taken on ways to improve health and the environment, ease up on the wallet and decrease water usage, among many other incentives,” Jonathan Winkler, OBID’s spokesperson, said.

Some restaurants previously promoted vegan and vegetarian dishes during Restaurant Week, but Monday marks the first time that all participating eateries are offering a discounted meatless dish.

“We participate in Restaurant Week because it’s a great way to work with the community,” John Michael Hart, Primanti Bros. general manager, said. “And accommodating Meatless Monday this year was not difficult at all — we are simply offering a Southwestern black bean burger.”

Though Primanti Bros. always offers salads and other meatless side dishes, the restaurant’s black bean burger is exclusive to Meatless Monday.

Ward Allebach, a geology and environmental studies instructor at Pitt, advocates for reducing meat consumption because of his concerns about the environmental ethics of eating meat and the lack of resources.

The production of red meat contributes to 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, a 2010 study of Australian meat production found.

Consuming red meat also has adverse health effects, according to a 2015 assessment by the World Health Organization. Researchers concluded that red meat is “probably carcinogenic to humans” and processed meat is “carcinogenic to humans.”

“We are in full control of what we eat,” Allebach said. “Everyone can make a huge impact by simply being conscious of their food and cutting down on meat intake.”

Owner Ren Jiang of Top Shabu-Shabu & Lounge, said the Pan-Asian restaurant would offer meatless versions of its typical lunches, including fried rice and noodles.

According to manager Andrew Khoo, the restaurant’s meals without meat are also some of its healthier alternatives.

“By not ordering meat, you’re not missing out on anything,” Khoo said.

Winkler said he expects the summer’s Restaurant Week, which typically falls in June, will have another Meatless Monday.

Although Winkler is optimistic people will continue to choose to eat less meat after Monday, Allebach said there is a still a long way to go.

“Events like [Meatless Monday] are a great way of making people more conscious of the connections between them and their food, a crucial step to improve food production practices over time,” Allebach said.

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Meatless Monday coming to Oakland