Staying loyal to a vegan diet is like having a street cleaner in bright green trucks cleaning your veins.
Doesn’t your neighborhood block look so good after the city street cleaners have finished?
Imagine what your veins look like after your vegan meals continue to unclog your arteries.
For those of us who are not 100 percent vegan, we love the idea but sometimes we don’t love the taste or variety.
One group that is improving both the taste and variety in the vegetarian dining industry is the appropriately named Veggie Grill.
“My own view is that being a vegetarian or vegan is not an end in itself, but a means towards reducing both human and animal suffering and leaving a habitable planet to future generations.”… Peter Singer
Veggie Grill is a fast-casual vegan restaurant chain that operates in California, Oregon and Washington. The first restaurant opened in 2006 in Irvine, California and is now operating 28 restaurants as of October 2017.
There is great and delightful news for students in the San Francisco – Berkeley area.
On March 1, 2018, here is the announcement found at livekindly.co from the Assistant Editor, Tanya Flink, “Berkeley students looking to escape the dining hall will soon have a new vegan option near campus. Veggie Grill is coming to Berkeley this summer, 2018. Perhaps summer school isn’t so bad after all.”
The chain focuses on offering only plant-based food, with no meat, dairy, eggs, cholesterol, animal fat or trans-fat.
In 2013 the company raised $20 million in capital, mainly from Brentwood Associates, and announced plans for national expansion.
Here is the back story.
The investors Kevin Boylan and T.K. Pillan were discussing various new projects and, after personally experiencing the effects of a vegetarian-based diet, they wanted to create a way to share the diet with a larger audience.
In 2006, they co-founded Veggie Grill, which has since grown to be the largest vegetarian and vegan restaurant company in the U.S.
With no restaurant experience between them, they recruited Chef Ray White to help create their menu.
Mr. White had been working with plant-based food for many years prior and focused on adding food textures to the menu that were familiar to the meat-eating population.
Veggie Grill now has a customer base of 70% non-vegetarians.
Now that is extremely delicious and financially impressive.
All of this talk of green, paper and earth based is making us very hungry. Let’s visit their restaurant for some appetizers but first we want to hear more of their story from the source of all of this healthy excitement.
At veggiegrill.com they tie their green aprons around their waist and share, “At Veggie Grill, vegetables are the rock stars! We see every season as an opportunity to create bold and delicious ways to bring people together.
At our place, we make veggie-filled dishes that are centered on moments. For people who love feel good food that celebrates the veggie, the fruit, the grain, and the nut.
All of our menu items are free of meat, dairy, eggs and other animal products, and therefore, free of antibiotics and hormones.
Beyond Burger from Beyond Meat: The world's first plant-based burger that looks, cooks and tastes like fresh ground beef - without the GMOs, soy or gluten.
Gardein Chickin': Made from the finest non-GMO soybeans, wheat, peas and ancient grains, then specially seasoned and marinated, chickin' is packed with nutrients and fiber.
Hodo Tofu: Our tofu and tempeh help us make satisfying sautéed, grilled and glazed food with pleasing textures. Both are made from organic, non-GMO soybeans and are naturally gluten-friendly.
House-made Falafel: Our chickpea falafels are high in protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber.”
This sounds so yummy. We don’t want to leave one tasty morsel out. They continue, “Saturated animal fats, cholesterol and trans fats have no place in our food. We choose monounsaturated fats: rice bran, canola and seed oils that are rich in antioxidants and reduce bad cholesterol.
From gluten-free buns to more creative substitutes, many of our menu items can be modified as gluten-friendly to please the most sensitive dietary restrictions.”
We love their story. We’re impressed with their unique concept and we salivate over their menu.
What are others saying about them?
The informative financial team at businessinsider.com speaks to their growth. “Launched in 2006, Veggie Grill serves fast-casual food that has fewer calories than traditional fast-food items. Its menu includes dishes like tempura green beans and "fish" tacos, with prices ranging from $3.50 to $11.50.
The chain has 28 locations right now, all of which are in California, Washington, and Oregon. But after a $22 million bump from investors, Veggie Grill is preparing for a nationwide expansion. By 2020, it plans to double in size.”
The green industry site onegreenplanet.org adds, “Plant-based restaurant chain, Veggie Grill, has been serving up delicious, healthy, and sustainable vegan food for the last ten years now. Launched in 2006, Veggie Grill prides itself in providing customers with inventive ways to include whole foods and fresh vegetables in their diets – and people are gobbling it up by the bowl. Considering 70-80 percent of Veggie Grill’s clientele are not even vegan, let alone vegetarian, Veggie Grill appeals to more than a just niche market.
Recent studies have shown that around one-third of Americans are choosing to leave meat off their plates more frequently and a 2015 survey by market analyst Mintel found that 61 percent of consumers say they enjoy menu items that heavily feature vegetables.”
We are glad to hear that. People sure love their food. Why don’t we hear from the girl and guy on the street who has sat down at their table?
At the great global review site yelp.com there are some opinions.
“The restaurant offers counter service, but is cute and clean. I ordered the Crispy Chik'n Sandwich with fries. Since they had a variety of teas, I also ordered a tea. The sandwich did not take long to come to my table, and it was worth the wait. It was huge and delicious. I had a variety of teas and all of them were good. After finishing I was stuffed...like at Thanksgiving.”
Here is another.
“Veggie Grill has some pretty typical vegan/vegetarian options. A lot of them are American, like wings, burgers, "chicken" strips, and sandwiches, but they also have some fusion food, including tacos and a healthier variety of Asian bowls.
There are a few more options that fall outside of these categories, but for the most part, that's it.
My date and I tried all of their house-made infused drinks with our meal. All pretty darn tasty. My favorite was the one with cucumber.”
How about one more?
“Really yummy, everything we ordered was fresh, tasty and well put together. I had the quinoa salad and my hubby and I shared the turmeric cauliflower he ordered another salad (I can't remember which one), but he liked it a lot.”
After researching this restaurant chain that seems to provide the ultimate vegetarian dining experience is there any excuse not to try enjoying your night on the town and then having a vegan dinner?
The Veggie Grill thinks so and so do we.
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