Food & Drink Sep 5, 2012 at 4:00 am

One Vegan, Two Vegetarians, and One Carnivore Review the Brand-New Veggie Grill


Did any of you try the chocolate pudding parfait? That was the most amazing thing I've ever had EVER
I have to agree with Megan Seling on this one. I think to really appreciate this place, you have to realize it is fast food for vegans/vegetarians. This is the equivalent of McDonald's, Burger King, effing KFC fer chrissake! On that level it rocks, but it IS pretty pricey. And yes, it happens to be in the middle of Amazon HQ, so it is highly likely that you will run into a lot of, duh.
Food may take more than 5 minutes and you may get your food from regular nice humans instead of smile robots, but this city is busting with awesome, locally owned, owner-operated, vegan restaurants (like my place Pizza Pi and our friends Wayward and Araya's!)

(To be fair, I'm sure most of the smile robots moonlight as regular nice humans in their free time. I just have a hard time with an executive from T.G.I. Friday's/Pizza Hut/Kenny Rogers Roasters coming into our city with his newest chain and everybody eating it up just because it's vegan. Consequently, I enjoyed the reviews.)

(FYI: This is the CEO of Veggie Grill:… )
the side of kale salad is great, with an asian style dressing. i usually order two orders of it plus the sweet potato fried, and even occasionally the chikin which is better than it sounds.
Only attractive young white people are allowed, because only attractive young white people are allowed in the entire neighborhood. Attractive young white AFFLUENT people, who can afford to budget $500 a month for their lunches.

This place ain't urban. It's not even suburban; it's college cafeteria, or high school these days in the richer districts.
Ouch. Tough review. I was excited about this place.

@4 as a 14-year vegetarian, I love most fake meat. There's only so many vegetables, and it's nice to shake things up.

@6 I assumed the neighborhood had at least a few attractive young affluent Indians. But that might be a stereotype.
Thanks for sparing me the trouble of trying this place out. I might have been excited when walking past, if not for this heads up. I'll save my enthusiasm, time, and money for someplace more worthy.
@4: They call it 'chickin' or 'chick'n' or whatever other variations because the chicken industry will sue them otherwise. They make it in the first place because meat tastes good, but you have to kill things to get it. I don't understand how this is complicated for anyone.

I don't know if you could have picked worse people to review this place: a vegan who doesn't like meat, two vegetarians who just got salads, and a non-vegetarian (unless BJC has some kind of condition prohibiting her from eating anything but meat, she's an omnivore) who of course is going to compare the fake meat to real meat and find it doesn't measure up.

I didn't quit eating meat because meat tastes bad, or because I just love vegetables so much. I quit eating meat because I don't want to kill things if I don't have to. I don't like salad any more than I did before I quit.

I want a place where I can get some kind of facsimile of the food I ate before I stopped eating meat. I don't care how it compares to actual meat, because actual meat isn't an option. I don't care how their salad is, because fuck salad, I am sick to fucking death of salad. Can I get fake meat that doesn't suck, in some form other than a patty between two buns? How about a cheesesteak or chicken tacos or a sausage and ham pizza?
@9 The Sun Break snapped some pictures of food options. Some look good.
#6: what are you talking about? There are a ton of Indians in SLU.
And ffs, Bethany, you're an omnivore, not a carnivore.
Too bad that the Stranger does a detailed review over a chain place like this, but doesn't do a review of Wayward Vegan Cafe (another all-vegan place). Yes, the Stranger wrote about Wayward in a piece two years ago, but that was before they had a dinner menu and it wasn't really a review.

Also, the Stranger's info page for Vegan Grill states that one is coming soon to the u-dist at "2681 NE University St". Is that supposed to be "2681 NE University Village St" or "2681 University Way NE" (or elsewhere)??
Two things:
1. No human is a carnivore. You would starve to death quickly.
2. @9, They don't call it chicken because IT ISN'T. :)
Can you bring your own steer or pig into the place, slaughter it and bbq it in the middle of their cafe'?
@15: Humans can survive on meat alone, but they'd have to eat all those yucky organ meats in order to get nutrients. In fact, there are human populations who do precisely this.

The thing that bothers me most about this review is the apostrophe at the end of chickin'. Like, is their fake chicken actually called chicking and they're cutting it down to give the name some edge?
i havent tried it yet and i cant wait. maybe im easy to please but at this point being able to walk in somewhere and not have to play 20 questions with an annoyed waitstaff or counter person is enough to already get this place halfway to 5 out of 10.

i have also heard no mention of fake cheese and for this i am thankful because fake cheese just needs to stop.
@13 and 15: I am well aware that I am not, strictly speaking, a carnivore. However, I do not literally eat everything—the legs of tables, other people, etc.—so I don't think "omnivore," in its strictest sense (which is what you appear to be going by), is correct either. We used "carnivore" here in the way that it is commonly understood by human beings. But I will include this quasi-error in our end of the year Regrets issue, just for you!
So, the takeaway is:
1. Fast food tastes bad
2. Eating vegan is much more expensive than eating factory-farmed meat
3. Omnivores don't like meat substitutes

Not exactly a scoop, but at least I can tell my vegetarian wife not to bother with the place.
Here's what I would do for a chickin' sandwich:
1. Catch a chicken -- preferably a spare rooster. If you get unsexed chicks, you'll probably wind up with too many roosters. Use one or more of those.
2. Hang each rooster upside down by its legs from a tree or a beam or something. Blood will rush to its head, which will calm it down for step three. Now is a good time to thank the rooster for all of its chicken-y sillyness, good times, and to acknowledge a basic fact of millions of years evolution: the African ape homo sapiens is indisputably an omnivore.
3. Pull the rooster's head down gently to expose the neck and make a deep slit with a very sharp knife across the jugular vein. This will result in a steady stream of blood onto the ground below - it's probably best to do this over grass or flowers, which will appreciate the nutrients.
4. As the rooster loses all that blood, it will shudder and flap about several times. This is normal. This a chickin’ nervous system shutting down. This is your food chain “keepin’ it real.”
5. Remove the chickin’s head and upper neck. Make sure to gaze into those lifeless little eyes as they stare back at you without a hint of affection or cognition. This will be quite similar to the chickin’s regard for you while it was alive.
6. As an alternative, you could replace steps 3, 4, and 5 by chopping off the head with a hatchet, although this seems like a rather poor way to either lose a finger or cause undue trauma to the chickin’ with a misplaced blow.
7. Scald the chickin’ by fully immersing it in 160-degree water for 30 seconds. This will make plucking easier, though it’s still a pain in the ass if you do it by hand. Do things the hard way. The magic fingers works great, but isn’t really worth it unless you’re butchering a bunch of chickins’. Plus if you’re going to introduce an elaborate contrivance into your diet, you may as well just become a vegan now. While feather plucking, think “finger lickin’”
8. Remove the crop, oil gland, viscera, and the rest. It’s messy, slimy, and smelly. The most important highlights are to remove the crop in entirety and the intestines and colon without puncturing either. These make great crab bait, BTW. Also, be sure to scrape every last bit of the lungs away from the rib-cage; this takes some effort and attention. These tasks take place within a warm, slippery, smelly dark cavity that you can’t quite fit your hand into. Avoid thinking about birth or sex for the duration of step eight.
9. Cool the chickin’ quickly and allow it to sit a refrigerator for about 24 hours prior to cooking with it or freezing it. As for chicken sandwiches, I’ve never really cared for them myself.

Or you could content yourself with factory-produced meat simulacrums marketed to appeal to misguided priorities. That’s cool too. I suppose.
@19: Yes, they use a cheese alternative. What fake/vegan cheeses have you tried? There are some really good ones on the market nowadays.
Vegans and vegetarians want to eat fast food? Hmm never would of thought!
@24: Contrary to popular opinion, "vegetarian" does not necessarily mean "healthy eating." ;)
My experience was very good down in Oregon. I found it a great option: friendly, fast, lots of kale greens, lots of option if you don't want their veggie Chic'n.

I prefer to get my sauces on the side, so I had no problems with anything too sweet or high in sodium. For a $10 plate of food, it's very filling, especially after the copious amounts of fresh kale. I felt great eating it. I could have added fries, etc, but it is too much food. I think yeah, you can add a lot of sides/drinks but with any restaurant... adds to the cost.

Don't forget. Although this is a chain, there is a small business owner behind it. Someone invested in a franchise fee and running it as their baby. People become so judgmental. If the staff is friendly, lets call it a bad thing and make fun of it.

Please wait...

and remember to be decent to everyone
all of the time.

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