My husband's mother had her 90th birthday in Minneapolis. I had never been there before so I had no idea how we would manage with our vegan diet. Often, in my travels I find it is rare that a restaurant is not aware of creating a vegan option.
However in Rhode Island I joined my family and we went to one traditional restaurant where the manager said he could only make me a salad entree. This was one of those rare experiences. My usual comment to the owners of the restaurants, when I find they do not accommodate a vegan, is "Us Vegans Get No Respect!" Generally, we both laugh about it. I find the only way to bring awareness is with goodwill and humor.
Speaking of goodwill, the restaurant French Meadow Bakery, in Minneapolis, MN is a fabulous restaurant! I was amazed to find such a great vegan menu and variety of choices. Even desserts! After having our first meal there, we were so impressed with the quality of food and how delicious everything was - we decided to choose to have MOST every meal there. So we enjoyed breakfast, lunch and dinner meals almost ever day of our trip. We also took my husband's (non-vegan) son there and he ordered the vegan option and said he enjoyed it very much and he raved about the dessert. This restaurant has a focus on organic and high quality products. Visiting this restaurant is a must for visiting in Minneapolis, especially if you are vegan.
Ecopolitan in Minneapolis is a raw food restaurant. We also enjoyed a Coconut pie dessert we ordered there. I find it amazing that a raw food restaurant exists in weather like Minneapolis. The restaurant is owned by a Chiropractor who understands the benefits of raw foods.
We also tried a breakfast at Hard Times Cafe and dinner at Good Earth Restaurant.
I find in my experience, that most restaurant chefs enjoy being challenged (if it isn't an especially busy time for them) by creating a vegan option. It's a good idea to let the chef know how much you enjoyed the dish and suggest that they put it on the menu for others to enjoy. You can also mention that now that you know they can serve vegans - you will let your friends know about their restaurant.
Everyone can use more business!