When a vegan and a carnivore walk into a restaurant, usually one of them has to make a big compromise. That’s not the case at Graze Kitchen in Pismo Beach, where the menu is “all about local, organic, sustainable, safe, sane and humane.”
Launched in September by brothers Corwyn Anthony and Darrell Delgado and chef Margie Gallo, Graze is located next to Old West Cinnamon Rolls on Dolliver Street. For many years a Mexican restaurant, the remodeled interior showcases an expansive open kitchen and a casual dining area with several rolling tables that can be easily moved around to accommodate parties of any size.
Anthony brings three decades of industry experience to Graze. This is the 23rd restaurant he’s opened, “from mom-and-pops to corporate.”
As for Gallo, she gained her culinary chops working since her early teens for entertainment giant AEG at such venues as Staples Center in Los Angeles. Delgado is the restaurant rookie, having recently retired from arson investigation, but is the devout vegan of the group.
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“About 35 percent of the menu is vegetarian or vegan,” said Anthony, adding that “we even have two dedicated charbroilers — one only for meat proteins, the other for plant proteins, and only our potato and sweet potato fries go into the fryer.” Many of the baked goods are vegan, and sometimes gluten-free as well.
In developing the overall Graze concept, the trio decided to push the farm-to-table concept to a direct sourcing model. As Anthony explained, “Either the farmers are delivering to me, or I’m going to them or to the farmers markets.”
He also makes it a point to visit every farm from which the restaurant buys product. (An exception is the New Zealand ranches where Graze sources some grass-fed beef due to the current drought, but more local beef is becoming available.)
Though the Graze menu changes according to availability, you can expect a wide range of flavorful, from-scratch dishes for pretty much every palate. Appetizers and salads range from organic San Marzano tomato soup to Fireman’s Chili with beef and cheese, from chipotle Chinese chicken salad to a seasonal vegan pasta salad, from artichoke pesto on grilled ciabatta to a slider trio of your choice of beef, chicken, fish or quinoa/black bean.
“Mini Graze” sizes are available for salads such as the roasted edamame, farro with black beans, or couscous. In fact, much of Graze’s menu is geared towards smaller portions to encourage sharing and trying new things, and the restaurant offers weekly “Wine and Graze” and “Beer and Graze” three-course tasting menus featuring local wines and craft drafts. (By the way, if tea is your beverage of choice, check out the 10 organic Art of Tea selections.)
Hearty sandwiches run the gamut from a Caprese Crazy with mozzarella and tomato, to a BLTA (bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado) with chipotle mayo, to the MGB Stack with roasted turkey, salami, black olives, roasted red peppers, provolone cheese and pepperoncini. The Stack is also available vegan-style, and the BLTA can be made with vegan bacon and mayo. For hot entrées, check out the hand-rolled lasagna, the tacos made with grass-fed top sirloin or the fresh catch of the day, or the tasty Tsunami Burger with ginger, cabbage slaw and red pepper aioli.
“We want to be an every-day, locally-driven restaurant where people can come several times a week and get fresh, healthy food,” Anthony said. “We’re about delicious flavor first and foremost, but healthy comes right along with that.”