35 locations in California, Oregon, Washington, Illinois and Massachusetts
(Our closest location is in the Corte Madera Town Center—North Bay)
Veggie Grill is a small chain of vegan restaurants with locations in five states. It’s a combination between a casual dining restaurant and a fast food joint (well, a nice fast food joint). Their menu is all vegan and changes seasonally (and changes in general I’ve found), and I even though their marketing says things like “more veggies please” and “we see veggies for what they are,” Veggie Grill’s menu is full of faux meat sandwiches and burgers. Now, there is nothing wrong with that—not at all; but if you’ve never been there and you go thinking that vegetables make up the bulk of the menu, you may be surprised (or even disappointed? Depends on your feelings toward faux meats maybe). There are entrée salads and bowls that rely more on actual veggies and beans, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you can find it at Veggie Grill along with burgers, burritos and other dishes.
I don’t have an issue with faux meats myself, but in the past few years, I will say that I have begun to turn away from them, if just a little. I do still cook with them from time to time, and will happily eat them (usually) when out. And Veggie Grill is a reliable vegan option when you can find one. Cody and I have eaten at Veggie Grill many times over the past two or three years, and while we’ve never been disappointed, we’ve also never been truly wowed. But whatever Debbie Downer; you can’t have everything, and I’m always happy to eat there when we have the chance.
Today we had to take our dog Shoop to a specialty vet in San Rafael (she is recovering from Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia, or IMHA, which is like an autoimmune form of anemia in dogs), so on the way home, we stopped off in the Corte Madera Town Center to have an early lunch at Veggie Grill. I ordered inside, and then Cody and I sat outside on the little patio with Shoop watching us intently.
Cody ordered the VG Beyond Burger (burger by Beyond Meat, American "cheese", grilled onions, house made sauce, tomato, iceberg lettuce, sesame buns) which came with fries, and I got the Tres “Fish” Tacos (crispy ‘fish’, green cabbage, original Baja sauce, cilantro, fresh lime). The Beyond Burger plate looked a bit sparse, but the fries were good and Cody enjoyed his burger. And my “fish” tacos were the freaking bomb. The piece of crispy “fish” (I’m unsure what the base of the faux fish was, but it appeared to some sort of wheat gluten; it reminded me of something from Gardein) was not truly fish-like, but was savory in itself; but it was the cabbage that was the star! Tons of crispy cabbage covered my tacos along with some sort of creamy “original Baja sauce” whatever that is (answer: spicy veggies are pureed and mixed with vinegar and mayo. Your welcome). I finished these off easily. The cabbage was fresh and light and the Baja sauce was just slightly spicy. The sauce’s creamy texture complimented the light crispness of the cabbage and the deep crunch of the “fish” inside the corn tortilla. They were a delight—probably the best thing I’ve had at Veggie Grill.
So, check out Veggie Grill’s locations and the next time you are on the West Coast (or in Illinois or Massachusetts), try and get to one just to check them out. Like I said, I have never been blown away by the food there, but at the same time, it’s reliably vegan—the entire menu is always vegan. And that my friends, can be a gift to a hungry traveler.
A note about to my friends with celiac and gluten-intolerance: many of Veggie Grill’s sandwiches and burgers can be ordered with a gluten-free bun, and other dishes can be modified to be gluten-free. So don’t be afraid to ask what is or can be made gluten-free when you go.