Guacamaya Oasis: Mexican Restaurant Goes 100% Vegan


It got to the point where I was like, “I
don’t want to have any meat options in here.” So I was willing to take the risk
of losing those customers, and honestly, like, it’s the best choice I’ve ever made.
So Guacamaya Oasis, when we first started, wasn’t meant to be a vegan
restaurant. As I slowly transitioned into a vegan diet, I wanted to have more
dishes in here that I could eat, so we started adding more dishes slowly but
surely. Fast-forward a year and a half later—now we’re fully a 100 percent
plant-based restaurant. So for my customers at first, obviously, they were
shocked about us releasing some of our best-sellers, but we transitioned those
meats into very similar plant-based options, and some loved it and some
didn’t. But at the end of the day, when you really know who you are as a
business, you can really grow, because people really stand behind a movement,
which veganism is, and I believe it’s here to stay. My family at first was like:
“Andrew, what are you doing? You need meat in Mexican food to give it that flavor.” So I
wasn’t really trying to convince them by telling them, like, “No you don’t.” So I just
got into the kitchen and just started putting in the work and making great
dishes and kind of tricking them into eating something that they believed was
meat but was really plant-based. So our top sellers would be the crunch wrap, the vegan pozole, the ultimate vegan torta, and then for our drinks, the vegan
horchata is one of our big hits. So the crunch wrap has a warm flour
tortilla, which we spread Mexican beans on it. Then we put our tostada on top
of that and then vegan queso on top of the tostada, warm black beans, romaine
lettuce, pico de gallo, and any choice of protein. The ultimate vegan torta is wheat
bread with portobello mushrooms, soy chorizo—has a base of Mexican home-style
beans. It also has some black beans in it,
cabbage, pickled onion, and pico de gallo. And it’s topped off with our vegan queso,
which gives it that creamy flavor, and our vegan sour cream.
So at first for any restaurant, especially when they’re in a community
that doesn’t have any other fully vegan restaurants, it’s scary at first,
but when you really know who you are as a business, where you know
what you should be doing that’s correct, people like anything where they stand
for something. It was very important for me
transitioning with the restaurant. My values changed; my morals changed.
I just can’t really serve something that I don’t believe in anymore. It’s like any
relationship, right; you want to be on the same page, because with that you can
create something bigger, and I feel like that’s where we’re headed now with
Guacamaya Oasis.

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