Meatless Mondays will come to Loudoun County next month when the national campaign makes its Leesburg launch on May 7.
According to Sue Sedlazek, who is spearheading the Meatless Mondays campaign in Loudoun County, about a dozen Leesburg restaurants will feature meatless dishes—in addition to their regular offerings—each Monday.
Sedlazek said each restaurant will have a lot of flexibility in deciding how they want to participate in the campaign, which was started to raise awareness about the importance of reducing saturated fat in one’s diet.
“We’re telling [restaurant managers], ‘You can make it whatever you want',” Sedlazek said. “If all you say is, ‘Try our veggie sandwich,’ you’re still doing your part to raise awareness.”
Sedlazek said Shoes owner Jane Shihadeh “lit up” when they first met to discuss bringing Meatless Mondays to Loudoun County.
“When Jane got excited about this, she was like, ‘Let’s roll!’” Sedlazek said. “She was really the spark that I needed to get things going, because she was a business owner that really embraced it.”
She noted that Shihadeh, a former oncology nurse, “totally understands the importance of a healthy diet.”
Shihadeh said she was very happy that Shoes is championing Meatless Mondays. It seems like such a simple way to make significant differences, she said.
Tenderjacks Marketing Director Cindy Printz said she's looking forward to participating.
“Many folks enter our restaurant for healthy vegetarian options,” Printz said. “This is one day in particular we can showcase what we have to offer and show our customers that we [can] meet their vegetarian needs.”
On May 7, Shoes will offer a special vegan sandwich and Bunker Sports Cafe will take 15 percent off the price of its veggie burger.
Puccio’s New York Deli will offer a free fountain drink with purchase of a vegetarian sandwich, and Tenderjacks will offer customers who purchase a vegetarian meal the chance to enter a lottery for a free meatless meal later that month.
Meatless Mondays, which started in 2003 as a grassroots awareness campaign, received a boost when it was endorsed by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
It has proven to be popular with restaurants, partly because it draws customers on Mondays, which are typically slow days for them.
Restaurants will now get a whole new demographic on Monday, Sedlazek said.
“This opens up more choice to people and brings in another market,” she said, adding that Monday is also the day of the week when people like to “recharge” and start a new diet or health regime.
Sedlazek said she is still reaching out to restaurants across the county, so that the local meatless campaign grows beyond Leesburg.
“We hope this is ongoing and people jump on board,” she said.
For more information about Loudoun Meatless Mondays, and a complete list of participating restaurants, visit the local campaign’s website.