Arby’s, home of briskets, hams and the infamous Meat Mountain Sandwich, loves to troll vegetarians. But as I discovered in December, the chain has a dirty little secret: Its sandwiches can be made without meat. And those meat-free sandwiches are actually delicious.
The staff at the chain’s new Manhattan location, on 40th St. and 8th Avenue, specially prepared two sandwiches for me that day: a steak-free Steak Fajita Flatbread (peppers, cheese, lettuce, avocado and mayo but no steak) and an egg and cheese biscuit, typically served with sausage, ham or bacon. As someone who doesn’t usually eat fast food, the improvised sandwiches were a reminder of why so many people do. Meatless or not, one bite and every pleasure sensor in my brain seemed to be lit up. Soft bread, salty cheese, crunchy lettuce… who needs meat anyway?
Apparently Arby’s has come to the same conclusion—the chain announced Feb. 25 that on Feb. 29, it will offer a special Leap Day Vegetarian Menu. “Arby’s meatless menu,” the press release says, “is extensive and void of delicious, quality proteins.” (Trolls gonna troll.)
The menu has more than thirty items, and includes descriptions like this one for the Loaded Italian Sandwich: “Melted cheese, banana peppers, shredded lettuce, tomato and red onion, with red wine vinaigrette and garlic aioli on a toasted Italian style roll minus the thinly-sliced ham, succulent salami and delicious pepperoni that made this one of the most popular sandwich launches in Arby’s history.” (emphasis theirs)
It’s a joke, sure. But a cheese and pepper sandwich with some tomatoes, dressing and aioli sounds delicious, amirite? And yeah, it’s got protein too!
When I got the press release, I had to ask if I was being punked. But as one of the brand’s spokespeople pointed out, this menu is always available—I learned that firsthand. You just have to know to ask for it.