Vegan restaurant provides plant-based comfort food

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Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Plant-based comfort food
Despite many restaurants shutting their doors during the pandemic, Sage Vegan Bistro and Brewery has remained open while also giving back.

LOS ANGELES -- While many restaurants have had to close their doors during the pandemic, Sage Vegan Bistro and Brewery has found a way to stay open and serve the community.

"Sage is comfort food or food for everybody that just happens to not have any meat or dairy," said Mollie Engelhart, chef, and owner. Engelhart said her restaurants have served the Los Angeles, CA community for years.

"The first location was the location in Echo Park, and that was in 2010. And so we're 10 years in and we have four locations, working on a fifth," she said.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, she said she felt like she had a commitment to the community.

"We've been around for a long time. So, I don't necessarily have to work 12 hours a day inside of the restaurants anymore. And it was definitely back to like the olden days where we were like, all day in the restaurants trying to figure out how to make it all work," she said.

Almost immediately they started selling food to-go and pantry items.

"We started offering CSA boxes from my farm. We started bagging up like beans and rice early on," said Engelhart.

"When there was no toilet paper, we were selling toilet paper," she said.

When dining-in shut down due to covid-19 Engelhart had to furlough about 65 percent of her staff. But with the help of the small business loan and by partnering with others the restaurant rebounded. She has used her restaurants and food to get involved in organizations like Support and Feed and Great Plates Delivered.