Starting Friday, vegan chain Veggie Grill will add new plant-based meat options courtesy of Los Angeles-based company Cena Vegan to its 31 locations across California, Washington, Illinois, and Oregon. Veggie Grill’s upcoming winter menu will feature two dishes made with Cena Vegan’s Al Pastor vegan meat: Barbacoa Tacos (served with lettuce, avocado, pickled onions, and lime); and a Barbacoa Torta (stuffed with mashed pinto beans, lettuce, tomato, avocado, pickled onions, and served on a telera roll). In 2016, Cena Vegan launched as a street cart in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles to test its concept: a flavor-forward vegan adaptation of traditional meat-centric Mexican street food. “We are thrilled by this big opportunity and the faith Veggie Grill has in our plant-based meats and our brand,” co-founder Gary Huerta told VegNews. “We look forward to a long relationship of innovation and the chance to thrill customers with plant-based options that are unforgettably delicious.” Earlier this year, Cena Vegan launched its seitan-based meats—which include classics such as Carne Asada, Pollo Asado, and Barbacoa—at select retailers in Los Angeles. In addition to Cena Vegan’s meats, Veggie Grill serves menu items made with Beyond Sausage, Beyond Burger, and Gardein products. The California-based eatery secured $22 million in investment capital in 2016 to fund its nationwide expansion and has since opened several new branches, most recently in Chicago, with upcoming locations in Boston and New York City.
Photo courtesy of Damian Rinaldi