Your Guide to Plant-Based Eating at Cal Poly

Contrary to popular belief, eating a plant-based diet is not that difficult. At least, it is not as difficult as it seems. For those of you starting school at Cal Poly in the fall as freshmen, the idea of campus dining may seem daunting, especially if you follow a more restrictive diet. However, it doesn’t need to be. Whether you follow a strict vegan diet, or you are trying to eat fewer animal products, we have created for a guide to plant-based eating at Cal Poly.

Campus market

This is the best place to go to find vegan and plant-based options. It is both a market and a grill. The grill has two great options, including a vegan breakfast burrito and a veggie wrap (just make sure you get it without the pesto mayo). What makes this the perfect place for plant-based eaters is the selection of frozen meals from brands like Amy’s and Gardein that you can buy and bring back to your dorm. There’s also plenty of produce and other items that are great to eat throughout the week.


Shake Smart

This is a great place to go if you have trouble finding sources of plant protein. Shake Smart has a variety of delicious protein shakes that can be easily tweaked to be made vegan. Just replace the milk with almond or soy milk and the whey protein with either soy or plant protein. They also have peanut butter and banana sandwiches and oatmeal that can be made vegan.


Red Radish

This is a build-your-own salad restaurant. You can load your salads with veggies, beans, and even tofu that make for a really filling vegan meal, or you can choose to have your lettuce and toppings made into a wrap. 


The Ave

Short for the Avenue, the Ave has four different venues within it: Tu Taco, Student Choice, Chick-fil-A and Bishop’s Burgers. Tu Taco is like Chipotle — you can build-your-own burrito or tacos. They have tofu as a protein option, making it very easy to order a burrito without meat or dairy. Student choice changes its cuisine every couple of weeks, but there is always a vegan option. Finally, Bishop’s Burgers has a delicious black bean burger that, if ordered without the sauce or cheese, makes a great plant-based meal. There is also a salad bar and a selection of sushi that includes a vegetable roll.


Poly Deli

Poly Deli is Cal Poly’s sandwich shop where you can build a sandwich filled with veggies, hummus, or whatever else you like. There is also avocado toast and a peanut butter and banana sandwich (Longboard Deli). For breakfast, there is an oatmeal station, creating vegan options for every meal of the day. It is also connected to Lucy’s Juice, a smoothie shop, that has a variety of vegan smoothies.


805 Kitchen

Do not let people scare you away from 805 Kitchen; it is a great place to go for plant-based eating. They have a whole vegan and vegetarian section that changes day-to-day. There is often tofu, beans, rice, and vegetables. The other sections also typically have vegan options to choose from too, like the pasta section. There is also a salad bar and plenty of fruit to fill you up.


805 Cafe

Right outside of 805 Kitchen is 805 Cafe. This is perfect if you are craving fruit. They have strawberries, blueberries, bananas and mango. You can build-your-own acai bowl loaded with berries or you can just get a bowl of fresh fruit. They also have toast. It’s perfect for a light breakfast or lunch.


Poly Canyon Village Venues

Finally, if you are willing to make the trek up to Poly Canyon Village, there is Jamba Juice and Einstein Bagels. Jamba Juice, of course, has smoothies filled with just fruits and veggies, and Açaí bowls that make a great lunch. Einstein Bagels has an assortment of bagels that you can top with hummus or vegan cream cheese. Einstein Bagels is inside of Village market which is another market like Campus Market, that has plenty of options to fuel your plant-based lifestyle. It is worth the long walk.


New Venues?

Next school year a new market near the yakʔitʸutʸu residence halls is planned to open, which will surely have plenty of new options for your lifestyle as well.

We hope the venues we've highlighted help you maintain your lifestyle when you start school at Cal Poly, or those of you who are trying to start incorporating plant-based foods into your diets.