How are you spending your vegan dollars?

By on April 29, 2011

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I was saddened to hear today that two of L.A.’s most beloved vegan restaurants announced that they would be closing shop. I wonder how much of their downfall was due to vegans spending their dollars at non-vegan restaurants. This week, Quarrygirl.com posted that a popular non-vegan restaurant serves tortillas with lard and possibly “vegan” cheese with casein. The chatter in the vegan community was quite high. Was this true? Which location? Can we really trust them?

I responded with a yawn. You mean to tell me that a restaurant that puts vegan options on their menu to try to attract more money to their establishment doesn’t take our ethical decision to not use animals as seriously as we do? Shocking. You mean to tell me that businesses that exploit animals for profit might not be careful about sourcing their ingredients? Might not be careful about cooking your vegan foods on the same grill as the corpse of a once living being, in the same oil as a dead chicken? Might accidentally put a little butter, cream or cheese in your food? You might find a small piece of a body part in your food?

In L.A., we have 35 vegan restaurants to choose from – quite a lot of choices. It’s tough enough for those 35 restaurants to compete for our dollars, but when we spend our dollars outside of the community, well, we have two great restaurants go out of business. You may not be as lucky as we are in L.A. in terms of the amount of choices that you have, but it is worth the effort to support them.

Ultimately, it’s up to all of us to make a decision about how we spend our money. I hope that we will take these two closings and the latest non-vegan restaurant serving vegans animal foods seriously, and reconsider those choices.

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Comments

  1. Mick
    April 29, 2011

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    I’m saddened by the closings as well. I was especially upset about Madeleine Bistro. I LOVE their food, but unfortunately can’t afford them. I do make an effort to go to vegan restaurants only.

  2. quarrygirl
    April 29, 2011

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    i love this post. and you’re right. i go back and forth with myself….should i eat at all vegan restaurants, or should i appreciate the omnivorous places that cater to vegans? i still can’t decide…but i’m leaning towards all vegan. obviously, they need our support! but when i’m working and i need lunch, should i NOT eat out because there’s nowhere near me that’s totally vegan? that seems counterproductive.

    oh, and BTW…i am not a fan of most LA vegan thai places like the one in the leading picture. they aren’t vegan owned (for the most part) and i’m suspicious of their ingredients for that reason. just sayin’!!!!!

  3. Gary Smith
    April 29, 2011

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    QuarryGirl – My answer would be to pack a lunch. Again, it is a matter of supporting businesses that exploit animals. Ultimately, it’s your choice. By the way, I think you’re wonderful.

    As to the picture, I just thought the name of the restaurant was funny and decided to use it. I’m generally not a fan of most of the vegan Thai restaurants for the same reason. Though I do like a couple.

  4. Kezia
    April 29, 2011

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    Lotus Vegan. Mmmm.

    You could pack a lunch. Sometimes I have to eat at the grocery store (salad bar or veggie sushi). Sometimes a cherry pretzel Pro bar and a banana is lunch. I’d rather do either of those than eat by choice at a place I feel is just trying to exploit me for my cash. Or hey – get the MB bistro box or Vegin’ Out and bring that to work!

  5. Jackie
    April 30, 2011

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    We have had this conversation before, so you know my thoughts. I am with QuarryGirl on this (still not totally convinced), but when I think about where I go out to eat, it’s for the most part, at vegan and vegetarian restaurants. I went to Sage tonight and that place is to die for! However, I am not sure we can blame either of these closings on lack of business, since we don’t really know why they are shutting down. I love Madeleine Bistro and have already made my reservation for next Friday. I am clearly going to miss that place, but I am crossing my fingers that they will re-open soon in a new fabulous location and with all the means necessary to be a successful restaurant. I think it’s becoming easier to mainly frequent all vegan restaurants now that more and more are popping up everywhere, but I still think it’s important to support restaurants who are making an effort to offer vegan choices. It gives other non vegans a chance to try some vegan food that they may not have tried otherwise and who knows, they may actually like it!

  6. quarrygirl
    April 30, 2011

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    bistro box!!! brilliant!! you guys are really giving me something to think about. especially with the closing of mb and pure luck. :(

  7. quarrygirl
    April 30, 2011

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    bistro box!!! brilliant!! you guys are really giving me something to think about. especially with the closing of mb and pure luck. :(

  8. Eric
    April 30, 2011

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    Right on, Gary. There really is no excuse, morally or practically. Even people in towns without a vegan restaurant can get by without patronizing animal-using restaurants. But in L.A.? It’s ridiculously easy, and spoiled to say otherwise. Vegan restaurants need your support. If that can’t expect the support of vegans, who can the expect to support them? Most of them barely get by as it is, and then we lose so many every year. In my view, we owe it to these entrepreneurial pioneers to keep them in business.

  9. Eric
    April 30, 2011

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    Right on, Gary. There really is no excuse, morally or practically. Even people in towns without a vegan restaurant can get by without patronizing animal-using restaurants. But in L.A.? It’s ridiculously easy, and spoiled to say otherwise. Vegan restaurants need your support. If that can’t expect the support of vegans, who can the expect to support them? Most of them barely get by as it is, and then we lose so many every year. In my view, we owe it to these entrepreneurial pioneers to keep them in business.

  10. Garrett
    April 30, 2011

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    I’m pretty sure the Truly Vegan people are actually vegans – they’ve got a bunch of vegan literature around the place. That’s my go-to Thai vegan spot because I think they actually give a shit.
    I agree we need to find out a bit more about the closings before we claim it’s definitely due to a lack of business – there are a number of potential reasons why they might decide to close. But I know we’re all very emotional because we might never again get to experience the Pure Luck/Scoops combo that’s pretty much unmatched in terms of awesome gluttony in the LA vegan world.

  11. Garrett
    April 30, 2011

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    I’m pretty sure the Truly Vegan people are actually vegans – they’ve got a bunch of vegan literature around the place. That’s my go-to Thai vegan spot because I think they actually give a shit.
    I agree we need to find out a bit more about the closings before we claim it’s definitely due to a lack of business – there are a number of potential reasons why they might decide to close. But I know we’re all very emotional because we might never again get to experience the Pure Luck/Scoops combo that’s pretty much unmatched in terms of awesome gluttony in the LA vegan world.

  12. Kezia
    April 30, 2011

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    Jackie and Garrett, you’re right, we don’t know the real reasons PL and MB are closing. PL in particular always seemed to be thriving. And maybe nobody can sustain a restaurant solely on vegan dollars. Logically I figure if the businesses had been more profitable, this wouldn’t be happening. But it’s totally possible that there’s another reason.

  13. Kezia
    April 30, 2011

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    Jackie and Garrett, you’re right, we don’t know the real reasons PL and MB are closing. PL in particular always seemed to be thriving. And maybe nobody can sustain a restaurant solely on vegan dollars. Logically I figure if the businesses had been more profitable, this wouldn’t be happening. But it’s totally possible that there’s another reason.

  14. Denis
    April 30, 2011

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    Yeah, I think Truly is actually one of the good ones. I know they donated to Animal Acres in the past. Food quality wise, they’re good as well… they were always our go-to take out place when our office was near there.
    And I’m 100% behind the message of this post. Small groups gain power through patronizing their own businesses and building communities. Just look at history.

  15. Denis
    April 30, 2011

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    Yeah, I think Truly is actually one of the good ones. I know they donated to Animal Acres in the past. Food quality wise, they’re good as well… they were always our go-to take out place when our office was near there.
    And I’m 100% behind the message of this post. Small groups gain power through patronizing their own businesses and building communities. Just look at history.

  16. Denis
    April 30, 2011

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    and I don’t think Pure Luck is closing from lack of patronage. All info is that the place is constantly packed.

  17. Denis
    April 30, 2011

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    and I don’t think Pure Luck is closing from lack of patronage. All info is that the place is constantly packed.

  18. jamie
    May 1, 2011

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    it’s probably more profitable to have a wine bar. :( that’s sad. i <3 that place and my friend works there. maybe we can send letters asking them to stay open! ;) i know rent is expensive in that area, well it's expensive everywhere… but yeah. i dunno. just saying. wine makes more money i guess. i hope it will be a vegan wine bar with food options. vegan only options.

  19. jamie
    May 1, 2011

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    it’s probably more profitable to have a wine bar. :( that’s sad. i <3 that place and my friend works there. maybe we can send letters asking them to stay open! ;) i know rent is expensive in that area, well it's expensive everywhere… but yeah. i dunno. just saying. wine makes more money i guess. i hope it will be a vegan wine bar with food options. vegan only options.

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