Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Restaurant Review: Veggie Grill

Today I thought I would review the restaurant chain Veggie Grill!

When I saw that this restaurant opened up in the University Village, here in the University District of Seattle, I was a bit skeptical and unsure about giving it a try, however I am glad I did!

One thing I really appreciate about Veggie Grill is how accommodating they are to food allergies and sensitivities. They have everything that's gluten-free already marked on the menu and then also list gluten-free, soy-free, seed and nut-free, and even garlic-free items on their website.

Additionally, they have always been very helpful when I ask about a certain menu item. Behind the register they have a binder containing all the ingredient lists for their food, which I have thumbed through on many occasions. I have also never felt I was being a bother when asking for more information on their ingredients.

Finally, everything I've had there has been delicious! My staple is their Gluten-Free Power Plate. I love how their kale is cooked (not too tough but not over-cooked) and the miso dressing on top is great. I also love the portobello mushroom paired with caramelized onions and yummy tempeh. Oh and the chipotle ranch dressing! It's really just amazing!

So all and all Veggie Grill is a win for me. It's great to have a good place to eat if I'm out shopping, or a handy place to run out and grab a meal when I'm not up for cooking at home.

My one qualm with this chain, however, is their total avoidance of the word "vegan." I've heard from others that they have chosen to do this based on marketing studies and with the goal, as far as I have understood, to bring in people who may otherwise be turned off by the word. However, I have also heard of customers being upset to learn, after receiving their meal, that the restaurant does not serve any animal products and I myself was unsure if they were a vegan restaurant when I first saw their menu, misunderstandings that I'm sure would be reduced with the use of "vegan." 

They do use words like "Chickn'" and "VG-Cheese" and on their website say: "We are proudly committed to serving 100% plant based food. No matter what you enjoy at Veggie Grill, you can be assured that your food has no meat, dairy, eggs, cholesterol, animal fat, or trans fat." However, this did not prevent me from asking my server the first time I came in the restaurant what dishes were vegan, to which I received an answer along the lines of "Everything's vegan, we just don't label it that way." Which left me wondering "Well why not?!"

How do you feel about their avoidance of labeling their (vegan) food as vegan? Do you think it helps bring in people who may have otherwise walked on by? Or do you think it may cause confusion and perhaps lead some vegans to miss this new vegan restaurant? How much do you think the labels we use matter when talking about veganism and vegan food? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Happy Tuesday!


  1. Sounds like a really nice restaurant, but yeah, I share your confusion. After preparing all vegan food, why would they not say that it's vegan? I always hesitate when something is called "veggie" or "vegetarian" & ask for clarification. And then I'm skeptical... Why didn't they use "vegan" in the first place? It's really not a scary word, but if they truly think it is, avoiding the word only makes it scarier. It confuses the issue; sure, they might bring in some non-vegan people, but since the restaurant doesn't explicitly point out that the food is vegan, people aren't going to leave with a good impression of vegan food, but of "veggie food," so it seems like a missed opportunity to me.

    Thanks for bringing up this interesting topic. :)

    1. Hi Julie,

      I agree that it seems like a missed opportunity, and that seems like the perfect way to phrase it too!

      Thank you for sharing!

  2. One thing I really appreciate about Veggie Grill is how accommodating they are to food allergies and sensitivities.

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