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Newest Native Foods: Santa Monica

I had the honor of breaking-in the newest Native Foods on Ocean Park in Santa Monica, CA where the Pizza Fusion used to be. This joint opens on July 3rd, there’s parking in the back, and lots of patio seating. In case you’re not sure whether or not you should go, here’s a glance at the feast you can eat there:

top row: Native Chicken Wings, Chimi Chop Salad with crispy chicken instead of seitan, BBQ Love Burger. middle row: Scorpion Burger, Maryland Tempeh Cakes. bottom row: Red Curry Soup, Nuevo Native Nachos, Strawberry Shortcake Parfait.

And here are some curious Native Factoids:

1. Chef Tanya is no longer with Native Foods. This explains why the food tastes different these days. Replacing her is Chicago’s Chef Kendall. What are you doing now, Chef Tanya? What has become of you?

2. A couple of lawyers from Chicago are responsible for the rapid expansion of Native Foods, and word on Soy Street is that they aren’t Vegan.

3. They didn’t have any Tempeh in the restaurants for awhile. At first they said they had “run out” or that their source had run dry. Then they said they had suspended use of it pending a lab test. On Wednesday, Chef Kendall told us they stopped making their Tempeh for over a month out of respect for some bad strain from Tennessee!? Check out this story that my friend-blogger Insufferable Vegan sleuth’d. Tempeh Salmonella?? EEK!


  1. Comment by


    on #

    On Facebook Native Foods claimed that Chef Tanya had NOT left the company, but was in a different role because she wanted to focus more on animal issues outside of the company.

    The tempeh thing is a fiasco. Why can’t they publicize this problem? The menu still says it is available, at least change the menu and say they are going to substitute tofu instead

  2. Comment by


    on #

    Hmm… interesting. I’m not sure what the deal is with Chef Tanya, but something smells faux fishy to me.

    As for the Great Tempeh Fiasco of 2012, they are serving it again.

  3. Comment by


    on #

    re comment #1, I saw that on Facebook too, but after that I was told by someone who knows Tanya that it’s gotten ugly and lawyers are involved.

    But whatever the case may be with Tanya, and whether the current owners are vegan or not, and the hiccup with the tempeh, I just want to say that I think it’s great they keep succeeding and expanding and showing people how good this kind of food can be.

    And also I think Chef Kendall has done some very good things with the food like those amazing new Maryland Tempeh Cakes she created. Kendall couldn’t be friendlier and seems like a great public face for the company and I look forward to trying her new creations.

  4. Comment by


    on #

    Thanks for the heads up on the tempeh.. indeed I was able to buy it today. I had grown tired of asking for it over the weeks so I just assumed it was never coming back. Now I can take a break from the gluten/seitan

  5. Comment by


    on #

    Chef Tanya Petrovna on Facebook:

    Chef Tanya Petrovna on twitter:!/cheftanyatweets

  6. Comment by

    Olivia Lane

    on #

    I love Native Foods!!!! I went there about 8 years ago so I dunno how things are now but everything in your pictures looks delicious! Glad there are more locations so that It’ll be easier to eat there next time I am on the West Coast.