Don't let it come as too much of a surprise that Bragg's Factory Diner recently made the move from having both vegetarian and vegan options to serving solely vegan fare. Dana Stern, one of the owners of the downtown Phoenix diner tells us it's just an indication of things rolling along according to plan.
"The intention was always to go 100 percent vegan," she says. "And we felt like this was the right time to transition to that original vision."
Stern, who is also the restaurant's head baker, understands that it's reasonable to expect that somet not be overjoyed by the change but feels that the difference is slight. "Our desserts have always been completely vegan, the dairy we did offer was limited, and our menu has a wide variety of options," she says. "There's not really much to miss."
The new all-vegan menu is more about additions than subtractions. Many of the new inclusions landed a permanent slot after stints as daily specials. When diners returned asking for those featured dishes specifically, the Bragg's team knew these were hits. The Fat Dad, now on the breakfast menu full-time is one such success. The hearty breakfast sandwich packs housemade vegan sausage, tofu scramble, avocado, greens, and a sweet agave mustard between pieces of sourdough toast. That same sausage, which is pinto bean and mushroom-based, is also featured in another breakfast newbie, 'Ello Gubnuh, along with grilled tomato, tofu scramble, and a side of toast and jam.
A new item on the lunch menu is the Korma Korma Korma Chameleon. More than just a play on the title of the 1980's Culture Club hit song, this number is a sweet potato, pea, and beet patty whose natural flavors are enhanced with curry spices and then layered with spinach, tomato, and vegan mayo and served on a sesame seed bun.
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Nacho lovers get a couple of new ways to enjoy the cheesy, crunchy offering. The Nacho Man Randy Savage choice still exists but is joined by Entrée the Giant, similar to the former but given more depth by a serving of the diner's jackfruit barbacoa. For those who want to make a smaller commitment involving corn chips and cheese sauce, a smaller version of the Nacho Man called Jake the Snack is the other option.
Open for about two and a half years, Bragg's has cultivated a loyal customer base and continues to draw in those who enjoy, or don't mind, a meat-free meal. Stern is excited by the continuous growth. "People are still learning about what it means to eat vegan," she says.
"Even five years ago, people weren't so aware of what that means. The fact that a lot of our growth comes from word-of-mouth says a lot to us about what people want to eat. Those interpersonal conversations and broader media exposure to different ways of eating are helping create a more food savvy culture."
Here are the new Bragg's Factory Diner menus: