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By Elena Kadvany

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About this blog: I am a perpetually hungry twenty-something journalist, born and raised in Menlo Park and currently working at the Palo Alto Weekly as online editor. I graduated from USC with a major in Spanish and a minor in journalism. Though my...  (More)

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Veggie Grill coming soon to Mountain View's San Antonio Center

Uploaded: Apr 14, 2014
Mountain View's revamped Village at San Antonio Center will soon be a little more vegetarian friendly, with Southern California-based chain Veggie Grill slated to open its doors on Wednesday, April 30, at 11 a.m.

Veggie Grill does all-things vegetarian and vegan in a fast, casual setting. Think salads and bowls to faux-meat dishes like buffalo wings, a "chicken" avocado sandwich and baja "fish" tacos. (Anything in quotes is made from organic or non-GMO mixtures of soybeans, wheat and peas. Tempeh, soybeans and fermented rice culture, is another common meat replacement.) All is done 100 percent free of cholesterol with no high-fructose corn syrup or antibiotics.

"We're trying to redefine how people can talk about vegetarian food," said Greg Dollarhyde, Veggie Grill CEO (the company likes to refer to him as "chief energizing officer").

This means disguising all those soybean creations with sauces, marinades, salsas, fresh veggies and more.

"It's not just brown rice and tofu with stuff on top," Dollarhyde said. "They're complex items."

But Veggie Grill fare is meant to be accessible to all diners, not just vegetarians or vegans, he added.

The Veggie Grill concept was also "founded on the very simple idea that you should be able to get high-quality food in a faster environment that is really good for you," Dollarhyde said. Of more than 50 menu items, nothing costs more than $10.

The Mountain View outpost is one of 23 restaurants, with more on their way to the Bay Area this year (in Corte Madera, Walnut Creek and second San Jose location). The company was founded by three men who opened the first Veggie Grill at the University of California at Irvine in 2006.

Dollarhyde joined the team in 2011 and helped them raise a significant amount of funding to expand from six restaurants to the current 23. He said they're expecting to have 28 or 29 open by the end of 2014.

Veggie Grill is one of many eateries planned for the new center, with Counter Burger, Paul Martin's American Grill, Pacific Catch already open and Nektar Juice Bar and Sajj Mediterranean on their way.

View a full Veggie Grill menu here.

The first 50 diners at the April 30 opening will receive gift cards that can be redeemed for a free entree. The same offer will run on Saturday, May 3, and Sunday, May 4, for the first 25 people each day.

Veggie Grill
565 San Antonio Road, Mountain View
www.veggiegrill.com

Comments

Posted by USA, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Apr 14, 2014 at 11:44 am

USA is a registered user.

I saw the signage for it the other day. That's great news. I like the one in Santana Row.

Most veggie-only places are Chinese or Indian. Having Veggie Grill (American comfort) and Yum Leaf (Salvadorian) in Mountain View is a great step forward in mainstreaming plant-based whole food.


Posted by veggie foodie, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 14, 2014 at 12:44 pm

There's an all veggie place across from Whole Foods in that little shopping center that fits that bill. Inexpensive food, fresh, generous portions, good spices. Made to order. I got a veggie stir-fried curry veggie dish with no oil, low salt, over brown rice, for far less than $10.

It's not the French Laundry, but it doesn't need to be. It was better than some other more expensive places of similar flavor I've been to around town, no pun intended. The atmosphere inside is surprisingly open and nice, and they have a really clean, large bathroom which is always a good sign. Good, low-key, fast place for lunch, with a few surprising appetizers. We had some kind of spring roll with rice paper wrap that was unusually good.


Posted by SCB94303, a resident of Adobe-Meadows,
on Apr 14, 2014 at 6:01 pm

SCB94303 is a registered user.

@veggie foodie:

I would like to find the place you are referring to. Where is it EXACTLY and what is the name of it? Where is "that little shopping center" across from Whole Foods? Are you talking about the Whole Foods at Showers Drive in Los Altos? I still don't know where you mean because I never noticed a "little shopping center" across from Whole Foods. How "across"? Straight across? Diagonally in some direction or other? Can you or someone else be more specific please? Thank you! I'd love to find it if you could name it and describe where it is more specifically.


Posted by Elena Kadvany, a resident of another community,
on Apr 14, 2014 at 7:30 pm

SCB94303: You beat me to the punch! veggie foodie, also wondering what the name of this place is - would love to check it out.


Posted by David V, a resident of Greenmeadow,
on Apr 15, 2014 at 3:39 pm

David V is a registered user.

SCB94303,Elena Kadvany;

1) Go to Whole Foods

2) Stand in front of Whole Foods

3) Look across the street-with your back to Whole Foods

4) Buildings on other side of El Camino

5) Bingo! Web Link

6) Cross the street safely

Good Luck!


Posted by veggie foodie, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 15, 2014 at 3:47 pm

There's a non-descript shopping center to the south of Showers, with some small businesses set back from the street. Just south of Gingko and that new dentist that used to be a wine store. Maybe more across from See's. There's a "Grand Opening" sign over the window.

I really fear for this restauranteur because of that hidden location, I hope they can make a go of it. I hope I haven't raised expectations too much - it's a very similar place to what's offered at Garden Fresh, only not as oily or salty as Garden Fresh. (At least, in my experience it's easier to get exactly what you want.) They did not have a GF menu, but I think the owner is considering it.

It's just a nice, clean place to have a decent, healthy veggie meal for a decent price. We don't have enough of those around here! Let me know what you think, but please give them feedback and another chance if things go wrong - I'd like to see this place succeed, just selfishly would like to see some options in this neighborhood! I can be as big a food snob as anyone else -- for years I have been critical of Greens, because for the price and press, I've never had a meal there that met expectations (usually bc the results were uneven and often boring), but I tend not to be too loud in my criticism because veggie foodies have such limited options! This place isn't Greens by any stretch, but it's also much more low-key and priced accordingly.


Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Jackson Park,
on Apr 15, 2014 at 4:10 pm

The vegetarian restaurant that "veggie foodie" is referring to appears to be:

Veggie Garden: Web Link

located at 2464 W El Camino Real Ste C, Mountain View, CA 94040. Tel. 650-961-6888.

I have not been there so I have no comments about the quality.


Posted by USA, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Apr 15, 2014 at 5:30 pm

USA is a registered user.

I go to Garden Fresh about once a week and have for years. They remodeled the place last year. I like it and like the food. The new Veggie Garden is nice too, but I like Garden Fresh better. Maybe it is just out of habit. Either way, you should give the new place a try.

With at least four veggie-only places and many veggie-friendly places, Mountain View is certainly leading the way.


Posted by veggie foodie, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 15, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Don't laugh, but when my mom and I saw the bathroom, we both decided we needed to return!

It's just, anyone who put that much thought into designing a place, and was willing to keep it that clean -- it really spoke to us. I guess one of my biggest peeves in the USA is how slovenly we keep our public facilities! Restrooms top the list! It's definitely a cultural thing. You go to Switzerland and their restrooms are spotless, and right across the border in Austria, a similar beautiful Germanic country, their restrooms are more like ours. You get used to it over here, kind of like the coffee stain on the inside of the mugs, but ick, when you have a clean one and return to the dirty one...

It's gotten to the point where I have been thinking of putting up a website just about public restrooms, with a hall of fame and a hall of shame... It would not be an exaggeration to say the Veggie Garden restroom was one of the nicest I have seen in a restaurant!

Hey, is Veggie Garden in Los Altos, Mtn Vw, or Palo Alto? I'm never sure over there.


Posted by Diner, a resident of Barron Park,
on Apr 15, 2014 at 7:03 pm

Talking about restrooms in restaurants is something that should be done. Many restaurants with good reputations have very poor restrooms. It is not just a cleanliness matter, but often how long the units have been there and when they were last remodeled.

A different but similar issue as far as I am concerned is the silverware. Many restaurants have cheap quality silverware often tarnished and "taste" bad. Fork tines are often bent or crooked which makes the experience of putting them in the mouth a strange sensation. Spoons for soup often have similar problems.

One of the best parts of the eating experience at Ikea is the quality of their silverware. It is good quality (their own of course) and durable which makes the eating experience of the food the main thing while the silverware is purely functional.


Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Apr 16, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Max Hauser is a registered user.

I like that Veggie Garden's web site (link upthread by Jay Park) even shows San-J tamari in the condiment trays! I hope that reflects the reality in the restaurant, and if so, it reveals subtle classiness. Like Crepevine offering pure Canadian maple syrup in its condiment trays, instead of the caramel-colored, artificially-flavored sugar water most restaurants pass off as pancake syrups.

(I've used San-J tamari products at home for 30 years, they are all about intense umami, flavor enhancement, without extraneous fillers, adulterants, or complications. San-J routinely offered low-sodium and wheat-free versions literally decades before it was fashionable to do so. Even their most basic product is much more intense and efficient than a good, let alone everyday-commodity, "soy sauce.")


Posted by jimmy, a resident of Southgate,
on Apr 16, 2014 at 5:48 pm

indian boofay blues-- ''where oh where is my korma/ where oh where is my bread/ there's not a pakora to be found/ better that i stayed in bed/ the waiter said sorry no rice/ for this should i pay the price?/ i'll take my pudding and go/ no vindaloo victories to show- (recite with pseudo indian accent)


Posted by David Speakman, a resident of Mountain View,
on Apr 16, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Sounds like lots of MSG will make most of the dishes inedible for those of us with MSG allergies.


Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford,
on Apr 17, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Nora Charles is a registered user.

I look forward to trying the Veggie Grill--exactly what is needed!

I am still waiting for a Greens type place to open in Palo Alto. Veggie restaurants shouldn't just be tiny places tucked away in malls, but lovely restaurants with good wine and a full bar. It's time!


Posted by foodie, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Apr 17, 2014 at 7:34 pm

Veggie Garden is very good, but is by no means inexpensive. Perhaps you can get a lunch for less than $10, but there's no way a previous poster's comment to be true: "I got a veggie stir-fried curry veggie dish with no oil, low salt, over brown rice, for far less than $10. "

Far less than $10? Please!!!!!

Good food, but much better values elsewhere.


Posted by veggie foodie, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 18, 2014 at 1:13 am

@foodie,
My mom and I had lunch there, and we both had curry stir fries over brown rice, plus an appetizer we split between us, water, and tax and tip for less than $25, it may have been $21, I can't even remember now. Lunch is usually cheaper than dinner. We were both pleasantly surprised.


Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Apr 18, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Max Hauser is a registered user.

David Speakman above might wish to learn a little about glutamates. "MSG allergy" has been thoroughly discredited, yet people cling to what was always a myth. Glutamates are common natural food components, a normal flavor mechanism; claims of "no MSG" are usually fraudulent, because of the widespread natural occurrence (link below). Further, the body makes the same amino acid itself, it's necessary in cells. Anyone with literal "MSG allergy" would likely be dead, and no one claiming sensitivity to food glutamates has demonstrated it in a real (blind) clinical test. However, self-diagnosis of "MSG allergy" has obscured real, even life-threatening, sensitivities to genuine food allergens such as bean or seafood products common in some condiments.

Nathan Myhrvold famously summarized the scientific record: "What makes the case so puzzling is that extensive research has yet to identify a test subject who can reliably distinguish food with or without MSG in a double-blind study . . . That is true even for studies that have focused exclusively on people who claim to have MSG sensitivity. Alas, the bottom line is that science has found no health effects due to MSG consumption at the levels in which it is present in food."

More:

Web Link

Web Link


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 18, 2014 at 2:51 pm

@Max Hauser,

And someone has done a study "proving" that sugar doesn't make kids hyper. Rather than dismissing all the empirical evidence to the contrary, I am willing to regard the study with a bit of skepticism. Some very large percentage of medical studies, over 50%? are proven wrong. Add to that an industry with an interest in a specific result, and it's not a great mix. The scientific record on syphilis was largely the result of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, published over 40 years, in which the lead scientist believed a great many things we now know to be the result of his and others' prejudice, not syphilis, such as that hardly any of the 400 men died of syphilis.

So, I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying, I think the "record" is a bit less clear than you suggest.

Also, it's irrelevant. As far as I know, they do not add MSG to food at Veggie Garden, it's against their philosophy.


Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Apr 18, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Max Hauser is a registered user.

"Resident," PLEASE read up on the subject (for real) before you defend the "MSG allergy" mythos. It has been so thoroughly, relentlessly, discredited that the only people defending it are those who picked up pop misinformation, and prefer clinging to that rather than examining their notions. Some overviews of what is so badly wrong with the myth are in the specific sections of WP's glutamic acid entry, which I linked to. Everyone who self-diagnosed themselves as "MSG sensitive" and participated in the double-blind studies Myhrvold cited was individually and decisively proven wrong. No doubt, some of them still defend the myth against all evidence -- it's human nature. Whenever this subject surfaces online, people can be relied upon to come forward defending discredited MSG notions they picked up at some point.

Veggie Garden and other conscientious restaurants do not add MSG to foods because they don't need to. IT'S ALREADY PRESENT.* Commercial MSG is no more or less than a cheap substitute for better umami sources like soy sauces, bean sauces, and cheeses -- themselves natural sources of flavor enhancers INCLUDING the components of MSG. This is the general understanding of the matter today in both the food and health-science worlds.

* Present in the sense that matters: The body reacts not to MSG per se, but to its two components, sodium and l-glutamic acid, which have separate metabolic fates, and have already dissociated by the time any literal MSG is inside you. The identical two components also occur naturally in foods and seasonings -- my first link above has a table of natural concentrations. Both components are especially strong in soy sauces, like the tamari I mentioned earlier. Commercial MSG in fact is routinely made by a fermentation process related to soy sauce production.

I don't know what parts of this picture people don't "get," but the realities are clear and accessible to anyone not determined to deny them.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 18, 2014 at 8:29 pm

@Max,
Getting back to the subject of this thread, how do you like the food? I liked Veggie Garden, thought it was a good value, and hope they do well. It was also a nice quiet place to sit and talk over a meal. I am looking forward to Veggie Grill, too, as the type of food will be different. It's so great to have options for fresh, good vegetarian food!


Posted by foodie, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Apr 18, 2014 at 11:20 pm

veggiefoodie...by chance are you the owner of veggie garden? Or a friend of theirs? This is what you originally wrote:

"I got a veggie stir-fried curry veggie dish with no oil, low salt, over brown rice, for far less than $10. "

Now you defended your statement by writing:

"My mom and I had lunch there, and we both had curry stir fries over brown rice, plus an appetizer we split between us, water, and tax and tip for less than $25, it may have been $21"

Well, was it $25? Or was it $21? If you divide the numbers by two (there were two of you, remember?) then that means your per-person bill was between $10.50 - 12.50. So, when you say that you ate for "far less than $10", that is a lie, isn't it???


Posted by FauxLobster, a resident of another community,
on Apr 19, 2014 at 8:55 am

"far less than $10", that is a lie, isn't it???" .... and the jury gasped. The first post referred only to the price of the entree. Lol at David V's instructions too.

Isn't Asian Box also in San Antonio Center? Another place with veggie-only options.


Posted by foodie, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Apr 19, 2014 at 12:46 pm

" "far less than $10", that is a lie, isn't it???" .... and the jury gasped. The first post referred only to the price of the entree."

Oh, so the story changes again... OK. The "entree" is one of the lunch specials for $7.95. Add tax + tip and that's $10.33. How is that "far less than $10"???

Do you not understand what "far less than" means to most people?

Why not just say..you can get lunch there for $10? Why have to lie?


Posted by veggie foodie, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 19, 2014 at 8:06 pm

@foodie,
I have no affiliation with Veggie Garden, and have only eaten there once. The first time I reported briefly on my own meal and what I figured it cost. The second time, I gave more information about the whole meal. There is no big conspiracy to lie to you foodie.

I said,
>"I got a veggie stir-fried curry veggie dish with no oil, low salt, over brown rice, for far less than $10."
Then,
>"My mom and I had lunch there, and we both had curry stir fries over brown rice, plus an appetizer we split between us, water, and tax and tip for less than $25, it may have been $21, I can't even remember now. "

We had 2 meals that we ordered off menu, as described above, plus an appetizer. That's 3 things, not 2 things. There is also tax. (Perhaps I should be more clear that my mom and I both talked to the waitress about what we felt like eating, and they made it for us, just as we wanted.)

When I eat out for lunch, I typically tip a minimum of $3 if I'm by myself or $5 if I'm with 2 people, no matter what the tab comes to, because I figure the waiter is working just as hard to serve me my lunch as he or she would at dinnertime.

I remember being pleasantly surprised at how inexpensive the meal was. You may be able to fault my memory (something I think I also made mention of), but that's a pretty extreme overreaction to start calling me or anyone else a liar.

Would you perhaps like for me to go into more detail about my use of the restroom facilities there so you can inspect what I say for consistency? Sheesh. Well, one thing I can say for full disclosure is I just realized I posted as "Resident" on this thread, too! (No conspiracy behind that, either.)


Posted by foodie, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Apr 20, 2014 at 1:46 pm

veggie foodie...it just seems that you are grossly exaggerating and then defending your statements. Maybe it is an accidental lie, but a lie nonetheless.

Sorry, but eating there for "far less than $10" is simply not possible...[Portion of post removed]


Posted by Veggie foodie, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 21, 2014 at 9:23 am

@veggie foodie,
The only dishonesty going on here is your very strange need to distort and manipuate what I said. I never said "eating there for far less than $10", I reported getting that one dish for far less than $10, which I did.

So, what's your conflict of interest here "foodie"? [Portion of post removed]


Posted by foodie, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Apr 21, 2014 at 10:53 pm

" I got a veggie stir-fried curry veggie dish with no oil, low salt, over brown rice, for far less than $10. "

How far less than $10? The cheapest is at lunch and that is $7.95... How is $7.95 "far less than $10"?????

And then you paid tax and tip, which would bring it up to at least $10 if not $12-13. Again, how is $13 "far less than $10"?

[Portion of post removed]


Posted by FauxLobster, a resident of another community,
on Apr 22, 2014 at 1:51 am

This is ridiculous. I think Foodie is trolling. No? If not, then it's just getting pathetic hammering this point on and on. Move on. Go eat a steak. I had one at Sizzler (before it closed) for far less than $20.


Posted by Veg mom, a resident of another community,
on Apr 22, 2014 at 10:33 am

I\'m really looking firward to the new Veggie Grill location. I frequent Calafia when I want upscale veg fare, but something quick and easy with vegan salads is a welcome addition to the area.

I have a fundamental mistrust of Veggie Garden, as it is my understanding that the owner was unscrupulous and took all the recipies from Garden Fresh. Alice and Robert of Garden Fresh took years to develop their menu. Veggie Garden\'s owner used to work in their kitchen, and his dishes are shockingly similar to Garden Fresh.

For unique Asian veg food, try out Da Scheshuan (so?) on El Camino at Curtner in Palo Alto. They have a two-page completely veg menu, with dozens of mock meat dishes. Susan the owner is happy to make customizations to dishes as well.


Posted by Veggie foodie, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 22, 2014 at 9:14 pm

@ Veg mom,

I know a lot of people like Garden Fresh, I have friends who eat there regularly, but I've always found the food too salty, and I've never been a fan of mock meat dishes. You're right, they do seem like very similar menus, but it's the similarities I'm actually not fond of. The appetizer we had wasn't something I ever remember having anything like at Garden Fresh.

That said, I think there is probably room for both. I'll be really honest that if Lyfe Kitchen opened up over here, I probably wouldn't frequent either, I'd be at Lyfe Kitchen once a week.


Posted by foodie, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Apr 22, 2014 at 10:32 pm

Veg Mom deserves to have the word 'foodie' in their name and should be called VegFoodieMom... Unlike some, who will not be named, you do not misrepresent an experience in order to shill a restaurant. And your taste is impeccable! Da Sichuan is amazing. However, you cannot get a dish there for "far less than $10", so some people (not to be named) will be unhappy. :)


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