From the faux chicken in my noodle dish to the meaty, shredded mushrooms in my barbecue, there's no animal flesh in anything here. The cheese on the pizza, the soft-serve ice cream — all soy. No egg in the stir-fry. No animal products in anything.

Brasch wrote the business plan for Green 10 years ago but didn't open the restaurant 'til 2006. Nestled in a sleepy strip mall on Scottsdale Road, the place is so inconspicuous that it's easy to miss, even if you've been there before. But it's destination dining in its own quirky way, frequented by a mostly young, arty crowd.

Service is fast-casual — order and pay at the counter, snag one of the funky tables (painted with jagged tree and plant silhouettes), and somebody will bring out your food when it's ready. In the meantime, there's plenty of atmosphere to soak up. A colorful row of old car doors and framed pieces of art fill opposite sides of the room, while tiny white Christmas lights and glowing paper lanterns brighten the green and orange dining room.

Vegan comfort food gets people in the door, and a laid-back atmosphere encourages them to linger.
Jamie Peachey
Vegan comfort food gets people in the door, and a laid-back atmosphere encourages them to linger.
No bones about it: Popsicle sticks stand in for bones in Green's daily special — barbecued tofu ribs.
Jamie Peachey
No bones about it: Popsicle sticks stand in for bones in Green's daily special — barbecued tofu ribs.

Location Info

Map

Green

2240 N. Scottsdale Road, Ste. 8
Tempe, AZ 85281

Category: Restaurant > Health

Region: Tempe

Green

2240 N. Scottsdale Road, Ste. 8
Tempe, AZ 85281

Category: Restaurant > Health

Region: Tempe

Details

Green, 2240 North Scottsdale Road, Suite 8, Tempe, 480-941-9003 »web link
That's A Wrap, 2022 North Seventh Street, Phoenix, 602-252-5051 »web link
The Center Bistro, 21 East Sixth Street, Suite 114, Tempe, 480-491-5591 »web link

The bohemian cafe vibe isn't particularly unusual, but the vegan comfort food is unlike anything else in town.

"Basically, I just wanted to take the taboo out of the word 'vegan,'" Brasch says, "so the average Joe would think of it as just another kind of cuisine."

For now, that's a work in progress. To many, veganism still connotes a strict diet that's more about philosophy than flavor, so even though Green is technically vegan, the restaurant bills itself as "New American Vegetarian."

At first, Brasch considered leaving the word "vegetarian" out of it, too. He's tried to keep the vegan message subtle, staying focused on cooking up craveable dishes, like jerk tofu salad, or drunken mushroom "chicken," with noodles bathed in a heady mix of mushrooms, green onions, rice wine, and dark mushroom soy sauce.

"About 30 percent of the people who come into Green have no interest in vegetarianism — they just want a reasonably priced meal," he says.

Ironically, if anyone's given him any flack, it's other vegetarians who want more healthful versions of Green's food.

"It's not necessarily the healthiest thing around," Brasch admits. "A lot of stuff is fried here. And that whole aspect of it has kind of blown up in our face. Most vegans are health-minded, though some live on fries and smoke cigars."

He's already working on a new menu that will include more light alternatives, as well as some gluten-free offerings.

But don't expect Brasch to stop serving vegan chili fries or chocolate-peanut butter Tsoynamis, his answer to the Dairy Queen Blizzard. Treats like those get meat-eaters in the door.

"When omnivores come in and say it tastes really awesome," he says, "that's the biggest compliment."


Vegan" might not be a household word just yet, but it's getting close.

The term was coined in 1944, when the newly founded Vegan Society created its name from the first three and last two letters of "vegetarian."

Now it's in vogue. Celebrities are clamoring for vegan luxury goods from fashion designer Stella McCartney. Pleather has a whole new cachet.

Cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz is giving vegan food an enticing new image with books like Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin's bestselling vegan diet book, Skinny Bitch, has spawned a bestselling cookbook, too: Skinny Bitch in the Kitch.

And if there's any doubt that veganism is sexy these days, get this: Portland, Oregon, now boasts the world's first vegan strip club.

Chefs are in on the trend, as well. In the National Restaurant Association's 2007 "What's Hot & What's Not" survey of nearly 1,300 American Culinary Federation members, meatless/vegetarian dishes and vegan dishes are ranked "hot" by more than half of the respondents. Vegan and vegetarian options are de rigueur on menus, and exclusively vegetarian fine-dining establishments are cropping up around the country.

Certainly, veganism gets a boost in attention every time there's another mad cow scare or large-scale beef recall; February's USDA recall of 143 millions pounds of frozen beef from a California slaughterhouse was the biggest in U.S. history. If people think there's a chance that eating meat might kill them, they're quick to put down their knives and forks, even if it's temporary.

Consumers also worry about things that might kill them slowly, like obesity, heart disease, and cancer. There's a laundry list of health problems that have been linked not only to the cholesterol in animal flesh, but also to drugs and synthetic hormones found in industrial meat.

Advocates of veganism suggest that eschewing animal products altogether can prevent illness, although Damon Brasch doesn't make any health claims about his deep-fried vegan delicacies.

But beyond the headlines, there are moral and ethical reasons for abstaining from meat that go back to ancient times.

Until the word "vegetarianism" came into use in the mid-19th century, the avoidance of meat was called The Pythagorean Diet, after the Greek mathematician Pythagoras, who was born around 580 BC. His belief in the transmigration of souls — that souls could inhabit any living thing — is considered a major influence on Plato and other philosophers who continued the debate about whether eating animals is ethical.

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16 comments
Work From Home
Work From Home

Great job done,very nice article.Brasch took his desire to cook good food, promote his own philosophies, and run a successful business.

used cell phones
used cell phones

Very nice restaurant for youngsters and children.....having more variety than any other restaurants...There are very few restaurants like this....

Katherine
Katherine

Thanks for showcasing my favorite restaurant! Sadly, I live far away from Green, but I make sure to stop by whenever I come back to my hometown. Their ice cream is especially amazing.

helentroy4
helentroy4

Damn.... I thought this was your april fools story. Excuse me while I go to my freezer and choose a porterhouse for the grill....

Stephanie
Stephanie

Great article - made me hungry and want to get myself to Phoenix! One thing of note however, a vegan restaurant will not add to your cholesterol load. Only animal foods contain cholesterol. So while it may not be fat free - it won't add to the workload of your Lipitor! : )

bill
bill

How come no mention was made of Veggie Fun, the humble vegetarian restaurant whose former location Green now inhabits? It seems like some credit is due to the nice Asian man who ran that place almost by himself in the absence of any trendiness or "buzz". He not only established the location as a place where people can go to get vegetarian food (albeit with significantly less appealing decor), but he also served versions of the Asian dishes that Green now serves (as well as soft-serve soy ice cream). Give him his due!

Tracy
Tracy

I was so excited to find this restaraunt while vacationing in AZ. We thoroughly enjoyed it and ordered a ton of food! It isn't easy being vegan on the road, so were really grateful to find such a great place. I hope to see one in MA soon!CrazyVeganMom.blogspot.com

Miss Fitzpatrick
Miss Fitzpatrick

Special thanks to the lovely Michele Laudig for profiling someone truly representative of the new vegetarian movement in the US. Although, we are not perfect, and there exists some level of hypocrisy in any way of life, the new vegetarian makes a sincere effort to positively change the environment around them starting with the internal. This lifestyle is often accompanied by misunderstanding, jeers and digs from peers, and savory temptations that make it easy to forget what one eats. Damon Brache and Austin Vickers are two exemplary Phoenicians who are not only changing the standard for what we put in our bodies and how we justify those choices in our minds, they are capitalizing on it. Long live �Damon Magic.� And, may it spread to other cities in America soon.

Sedona Cornville
Sedona Cornville

Eating a salad is vegicide. Save the carrots! Save the radishes!

Drake Northpine
Drake Northpine

While it certainly won't make me stop eating meat, the food is actually pretty decent.

Knish
Knish

What a fabulous place! How about opening one in Atlanta. My friends and I would be there constantly. Probably not good for the waistline, but great for the animals. Keep us posted with your openings around the country. And, for all you animal lovers out there, join the revolution.www.savetheknish.org

Matt Ball
Matt Ball

Thanks so very much for this informative article. Many people are horrified when they learn the hidden realities of modern agribusiness, but assume that being vegan means a life of deprivation. But places like Green, as well as new vegetarian meats (like Boca Burgers, Tofurky Deli Slices, Gimme Lean Ground "Beef" and "Sausage") show that this isn't the case. Each one of us can boycott factory farms and choose compassion -- and enjoy great food!

Christy L
Christy L

Thanks for highlighting one of my favorite restaurants! Green is a gem. It's refreshing to be able to eat everything on the menu AND not have it taste like cardboard. I've even brought staunch meat eaters to the restaurant and they loved it. My only gripe is that Green doesn't use environmentally sound products. Disposable forks, paper napkins, and Styrofoam cups really defeats the purpose of going veg for many people. Why contribute to the waste when there's such an opportunity to make a difference?

 
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