Ruby Tuesdays is one of those restaurants that I always lumped into the same category as Applebees, Max & Ermas and TGIFridays: popular casual dining chains with precious little for vegetarians. In fact, the last time I had visited a Ruby Tuesdays (admittedly, over five years ago) they had nothing at all for vegetarians and I ended up walking out.
I probably would have happily continued ignoring the restaurant had I not gone on a weekend get-away with my Mom and Ruby Tuesdays was the only restaurant near our hotel that wasn't drive-thru fast food.
I was wowed by the salad bar, which is a cut above the average. Alongside the standard bar items, there are unique items like edamame, thinly sliced zucchini and slivered pickled beet. They also offer four varieties of lettuce to choose from, two types of vegetarian pasta salad, a smashing bean salad, and creamy apple salad.
It's too bad their hot entrées aren't as well thought out as the salad bar. None of the soups are safe (the broccoli-cheese soup has a chicken base) and the menu's only veggie entrée is a standard veggie burger.
The restaurant has jumped on the "mini sandwich" and "endless fries" bandwagon with a bevy of pint-sized selections a la White Castle that are available as appetizers or as a salad bar accompaniment for a small upcharge. There isn't a veggie burger mini, natch, but they do offer a mini grilled cheese option if you don't mind ordering from the kid's menu.
My neice and nephew tagged along on a recent visit and tried out the minis. Truthfully, we probably could have gotten away with one plate between the two of them, but Zoe wanted grilled cheese and Gunnar wanted burgers. It's a shame that the restaurant doesn't offer a mix & match option because one of each mini was left untouched by the kids.
The restaurant's bar has different drink specials every day of the week and margaritas are $5 all the time. Sadly, although they advertise Yuengling on their beer menu, Ohio law doesn't currently allow for the sale. Too bad!
All in all, Ruby Tuesdays' menu still isn't all that different from other nationwide casual dining chains, but the addition of a veggie burger (boring as it may be) and a better-than-average salad bar makes it an acceptable vegetarian-friendly option when traveling.