Similar beliefs about the nature of the soul perpetuated vegetarianism in various religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. In more recent times, a branch of fundamentalist Christians was behind the 1847 debut of the Vegetarian Society in England, while Seventh-day Adventists are among the most prominent contemporary advocates of vegetarianism.

Lately, the environmental and political arguments in favor of veganism and vegetarianism have been bolstered by the Green Movement, as consumers learn about how many resources are consumed and how much pollution is generated by factory farming.

Even among the general meat-eating population, there's a trend of supporting sustainable agriculture — grass-fed beef is showing up on more menus, and restaurants are eager to promote their local, organic ingredients.

It's easy to fill up on crispy samosas with tamarind sauce.
Jamie Peachey
It's easy to fill up on crispy samosas with tamarind sauce.
Mock chicken replaces bona fide fowl in the spicy Thai peanut bowl.
Jamie Peachey
Mock chicken replaces bona fide fowl in the spicy Thai peanut bowl.

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

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Brasch says he didn't name his restaurant Green because of the Green Movement, though — he had the idea before the trend really took off.

"All these green people who change their light bulbs and drive hybrid cars . . . If they're not eating a vegetarian diet, then they're contributing to one of the biggest environmental problems," he says.

That, and "creating a living, conscious being just to eat it is wrong," he adds.

His reasons for being vegan?

"For me personally, it's 100 percent about factory farming. It's completely out of control," he says. "But if you're going to quote me on that, I'm a hypocrite, because I'm involved with two restaurants that serve meat."

Well, he is an entrepreneur, after all. As it turns out, if it weren't for all the omnivores patronizing That's A Wrap, that business wouldn't have been able to keep Green afloat in the beginning.

Nowadays, though, Green's clearly in the black.


Brasch, who grew up in Chicago and moved to the Valley in 1992, says being in a big Italian family led to his love of cooking.

"Cooking was the nucleus of our family," he says. "My grandmother threw these massive parties, but she had this tiny little kitchen. From a kid's perspective, it was just magical."

Brasch and his mother and sister had moved in with his grandparents after his parents got divorced, so he spent a lot of time in the kitchen with his grandmother.

"Instead of going out and playing baseball, I was inside with the women," Brasch says of his childhood.

As it turns out, there's a reason he was a homebody. It's something Brasch says he's never really talked about with people, but he's compelled to tell me: He's missing his left leg up to the hip, and was born that way. When he was a baby, doctors told his mother he'd never walk.

He later shows me a tattoo of a femur — that is, the thigh bone — which runs the length of his right shin. He got it when he was 18, after going through a period of self-reflection.

"It made me feel like a whole person," he says.

Considering how much time chefs spend on their feet, it's incredible that Brasch has pursued such a physically demanding career, but he's always been active. He started walking with a brace as a toddler, and then had an operation at age 6 to be fitted for a prosthetic leg. He always took regular gym class in school. And eventually, he even got into skateboarding and racing BMX bikes.

"I give my mom a lot of kudos because she never coddled me in that sense," he says. "She never let me use it as an excuse."


Brasch recalls an experience in first grade when kids were teasing him about his disability. He went home and told his mom what happened.

"She told me, 'The next time someone does that, punch him in the nose.' And the next day, I did. Nobody bothered me after that, but every year, it would be the same thing all over again."

By high school, Brasch admits, he was known as a bully. To see him now — with his warm brown eyes, long beard, and mellow demeanor — it's hard to believe he was ever aggro.

"I was full of a lot of rage when I was younger," he explains matter-of-factly.

Not surprisingly, Brasch was drawn to the hardcore music scene in Chicago. That's where he was introduced to vegetarianism. (Straight-edge hardcore, an offshoot of punk, started in the early '80s as a clean-living subculture that rejected drinking and smoking, but it also became associated with animal rights by the end of the decade.) He's been a strict vegetarian for 16 years now, a vegan off and on.

Around the same time, he began working in restaurants. His first job, at age 14, was as a dishwasher at a pizza place. Brasch continued to work his way up the kitchen hierarchy through high school, missing a lot of classes. He dropped out of college and continued working in the restaurant business.

When Brasch's father moved to Arizona for a job, Brasch decided to come along for a change of scenery. He worked at different restaurants around Phoenix — "random places," he says — including Tom's BBQ, where he met his future wife, Kathy, who's a nurse. (Even though he doesn't eat meat, as a chef, he still enjoys cooking it.)

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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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