Vegans Outraged by Vegetarian Restaurant Owner Brazenly Drinking Glass of Milk in Cafe Window

Originally Published: May 17, 2018

A simmering dispute between the vegan and non-vegan members of the vegetarian community in Toronto escalated this week when the owner of local vegetarian restaurant The Milky Way sat at a table in his shopfront window and drank an entire glass of milk in view of a dozen vegans who had been protesting in front of the trendy downtown eatery.

The two sides have been in conflict for several weeks now, ever since an informal group of vegan activists met in front of the dining establishment on May 11 and began chanting ‘No Milk Today” during the busy lunchtime period.

Vegans, like vegetarians, refuse to eat animal flesh, but in addition refuse to ingest animal products like milk and eggs.

According to the police report of the incident, owner Kyle Roddicker “engaged the protestors”, and at some point a “scuffle” ensued, which soon escalated into “attempted fisticuffs”. Two of the protestors were arrested on public nuisance charges but later released.

The incident angered Kasmir Saad, who immediately formed an activist group called the NMT Army, taking its acronym from the chant used in the original protest. The group began protesting near the front window, but quietly and in limited numbers, which caused Metro police to inform owner Roddicker that there was little they could do.

The first ramping up of the mutual acrimony came last Thursday when an NMT member began projecting an image of a Milky Way customer shamelessly devouring the contents of the cheese tray on a wall adjacent to the eating establishment. It was this action that is believed to have inspired owner Roddicker’s provocative action last night.

19-year old York University student Bree Santorus related what happened, pausing frequently to regain her composure as she related the traumatizing events “He sat at the table right in front of the window. And he made a big production of having the waiter come with a 2-litre carton of milk. It was even homo, not 2% or anything, just to make it more disgusting. Then he pours it into a clear glass so that . . . so there was no doubt that it was real. It was . . . horrifying.”

ST has not been able to confirm another eyewitness account that claimed Roddicker also took a bite out of a large white cheese ball, which those who claim to have witnessed the act claimed was Havarti but there are differing accounts on that detail as well.

MacLeans magazine reporter Vince Ardway, who has been covering the food and politics beat for 19 years, has seen nothing like it. “The vegetarians have always been a varied coalition with lots of interfactional squabbles, but it always presented a united front to the meateaters. That seems to have evaporated. I’m quite frankly afraid about how far this could go.” When asked for details, the MacLeans writer shuddered and said quietly, “Not ready to go there. Not yet.”

At press time, Ardway’s fears did not seem unrealistic, as there was no indication that a solution to the problem was at hand. NMT leader Saad said “We represent all the chickens and cows, the ducks and goats, every milk- and egg-producing species on the planet. Unless I hear from them that they want us to compromise, that’s really not an option.”

And owner Roddicker did nothing to calm the roiling waters by stating: “I don’t want to pick a fight with anyone, I don’t want to upset anyone, but I’m standing for a principle here. And you know what they say, if you want to make an omelette you’ve got to break some eggs.”

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