It’s a classic ’90s dilemma: Six friends meet for dinner. Half want steak; the others won’t touch cow meat, or even eggs or milk. Before the publication of the Vegetarian Resourcebook 1996 Washington, D.C. (Four Winds Press), this conundrum might have kept herbivores from dining with their carnivore cohorts. But with the Resourcebook’s comprehensive lists of local restaurants and health food stores, finding sustenance won’t be a problem.
The paperback, which rates veggie resources in the District, Virginia, and Maryland, is a collaborative effort by the staff of Delights of the Garden, a raw-foods restaurant at 2616 Georgia Ave. NW. “People would constantly come in and ask where they can get certain food items, what other places exist, doctors who specialize in a specific thing like colonics,” says Imar Hutchins, who founded the first Delights in Atlanta before opening ones in D.C. and Cleveland, Ohio. In response, he and Resourcebook editor Matthew Tollin compiled information on vegetarian-friendly eateries, doctors, organizations, Internet sites, and profiles of local businesspeople; other Delights employees helped with the research. “It’s a streetwalker’s guide,” says Hutchins. “We live in this city. We walk the street. We tasted the food at all these places and got people’s opinions.”
Producing books is nothing new to Hutchins and the Delights crew. Their self-published recipe book, The Joy of Not Cooking, will be re-published this May by Doubleday/Main Street Books, under the restaurant’s moniker. Meanwhile, the Resourcebook continues to be distributed through grass-roots channels. It’s available at local bookstores, health-food stores, and of course, Hutchins’ restaurant (call 202-232-1106 for mail-order information).