Carni-vegetarian couples share restaurant picks

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Subhead: Till Beef Do Us Part: Couples thrive despite dietary divisions

Sara Yurkovic won’t touch pastrami. Her husband lives for it. As members of a carni-vegetarian marriage, they’re not alone in the world. We take a look into the lives of three couples who won’t be caught stealing food from one another’s plates. (We’re no experts, but this fact alone may make for a stronger relationship.)


Sara Yurkovic became a vegetarian shortly before she started dating her now husband, Andy. Within a month of returning from their honeymoon, he took a job with a butcher shop.

“I made him get his own hamper because the smell of his clothes was so offensive to me. No matter what meat he worked with, he always smelled like bologna,” she says of their early years of marriage. “Even after he showered, he smelled like bologna. It was disgusting.”

Luckily, true love overcomes all manner of delicatessen meat smells, and the couple thrives happily despite their dietary differences. (A career change for Andy helped.)

“I’m not turned off by the fact that he eats meat,” she says of Andy’s diet, “As long as it’s done conscientiously and in moderation. And he doesn’t expect me to participate in any way.”

The two have many places where they can dine side-by-side, but their favorite is Northstar Cafe. She orders the Thai Burrito (with tofu) while he prefers their Turkey Bacon Club. A second favorite is Nazareth Restaurant on the north end, where the pair orders gyros (his, with lamb; hers, without).


In the nine years they’ve been together, Paul and Kate Djupe both altered their eating habits to reach a happy medium.

“He was vegan when we started dating. He became a vegetarian a year into our relationship,” she explains, “because I needed butter in my life.”

Kate, who has worked in the food industry her entire career, cooks mostly vegetarian at home, and saves the meat for when they go out to eat. When she gets to choose, the couple will dine at Los Potosinos.

For him, she orders the tostadas borrachas (a crispy tortilla topped with pinto beans, nopales and cheese) and the “magic corn on a stick,” and for herself, the pollo al carbon (grilled chicken).

Paul chimes in, “There aren’t a lot of taco trucks that I think I can eat at. Lidia [Labra] knows enough English that she can answer questions about whether the beans and rice are made with lard—they’re not.”

When the ball’s in Paul’s court, the couple dines at Bono Pizza or Reethika on the West Side. “And Dirty Frank’s,” he says. “Their veggie hot dog is great.”

Jenny Wray & Kyle Sowash

Jenny Wray became a vegetarian the day after Thanksgiving in seventh grade. When she started dating Kyle Sowash a decade ago, his affinity for meat did not thwart their budding relationship. Mark it up to previous experience. Wray has never dated a vegetarian, while Sowash has long had several friends who did not eat meat.

The couple doesn’t keep much meat in the house. “I never have meat for dinner unless we are going out to a restaurant,” says Sowash.

However, Wray elaborates: “He’s not going to argue to go to a steakhouse with me. He has a lot of friends that will be happy to go with him.”

Their restaurant of choice is Tip Top, where Sowash gets the Monte Cristo and Wray orders the vegetarian roast beef. Another favorite is Blue Nile, where they share the vegetarian combo.

“Kyle used to be a traditional meat-and-potatoes guy,” says Wray. “But he’s also willing to try new foods. As a vegetarian, I’m already somewhat limited in what I can eat, so I want to integrate that kind of adventurousness into my own eating habits.”