Vegan Chain Veggie Grill Opens (With Free Food!) in Pasadena Saturday

Sonoran Winter Bowl
Sonoran Winter Bowl
Veggie Grill

Do you like free food? If so, make sure to visit Veggie Grill in Pasadena at 11 a.m. Saturday, as a grand opening celebration for the vegan chain's newest location includes $2,500 in grub that won't cost a penny.

Kind of.

Beginning at 11 a.m., the first 50 customers in line at the Pasadena restaurant will each be given $50 gift cards. Sadly, LA Weekly can neither confirm nor deny that the 51st person in line has to wash dishes all day while listening to the Frozen soundtrack. 

Opened in Irvine in 2006, the Pasadena location marks the 26th Veggie Grill restaurant on the West Coast, which makes it one of the largest vegan chains in existence (Native Foods also has 26). While one might assume veganism and chain restaurants are ideologically opposed and therefore the food must suck, one would be wrong, as the grub at Veggie Grill is pretty good for a chain or a mom-and-pop.

Rather than focusing on uber-hippie shit that would scare away customers, Veggie Grill's success lies in its comfort-food approach and "plant-based" descriptions (which eschews the word "vegan"). Sure, they've got some gluten-free options (quinoa power salad, herb-roasted veggies, Yukon gold fries and a black beans and quinoa mini-bowl to name a few), but it's menu items such as the savory kale Caesar, glazed-tofu bahn mi, crab-cake burger, faux fish tacos and fake chicken tacos that'll make your meat-eating mom feel like she's eating the "real thing." 

Whether or not you get a gift card, you should still order the Sonoran Winter Bowl (spiced and fire-roasted carrots, seasoned black beans, avocado chunks, tomato corn salsa, jalapeños, tortilla strips, roasted red pepper sauce on quinoa pilaf with dried grapes and almonds) because it's really freakin' good.

Veggie Grill Pasadena is located at 200 South Lake Ave.


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