• Lucifer’s Pizza: LIAR’S PIZZA, more like!

    April 29th, 2009mr meanerLA restaurants, lucifer's pizza

    UPDATE: since the time of this post, Lucifer’s has CHANGED THEIR WAYS. They now offer 100% VEGAN PIZZA made with Teese Cheese! YAY!

    Sigh. Our mission for quarrygirl.com was never to serially expose vegan establishments that are mistaken and neglectful, but we just can’t let it slip when somebody repeatedly tells us something is vegan, and it turns out not to be. The latest offender is Lucifer’s Pizza in Silver Lake. Sadly, they are a business that covers up the truth, and blatantly lies in the face of honest questions. Here’s the sad story.

    A few weeks ago, vegans on twitter were buzzing about Lucifer’s Pizza offering vegan cheese as an addition to their regular milk-based offerings. Apparently, they were dropping off flyers to homes and businesses proudly proclaiming “VEGAN CHEESE!” as an offering for only $2 more on a large pizza.

    As soon as we found out, I called to order a pizza for pick-up, and the person answering the ‘phone confirmed “Oh, yes, we’ve had vegan cheese for a while!”. I asked what brand it was, and for a list of ingredients. After some persuasion the lady (who didn’t know the answers off-hand) got a pack of the cheese and started to list the ingredients, one of the first of which was “casein – a milk protein”. I stopped her right there, and asked if she was sure that was the vegan cheese. She said “Yes, this is what we put on vegan pizzas”. After informing her that cheese was not vegan, she said “oh, I just work here”, and hung up.

    Next step was to give Lucifer’s the benefit of the doubt, and so we filled in the contact form on the website saying that the “vegan cheese” was not vegan, and that they should just advertise it as “soy cheese,” or offer a casein-free alternative. A representative from Lucifer’s named Adam replied, as follows:

    On Apr 26, 2009, at 4:41 PM, adam@luciferspizza.com wrote:

    Hi There,

    Thanks for your e-mail. It only came to my attention on thursday
    that there was casein in the cheese. We had been told infatically from our
    supplier that this was Vegan cheese. I have spoken to them and they realised
    they have made a mistake. We will have 100% vegan cheese delivered to our
    store tomorrow. Obviously we take this very seriously, My Partner is Vegan
    and I fully understand the importance of having a great Vegan option.

    Again thanks for the e-mail.
    Kind Regards

    I mean, seriously, it appeared to be such a nice and honest response. We had not only an apology but also a resolution – vegan cheese would be arriving “tomorrow”, meaning Monday 27th April. With Adam’s partner being a vegan we had every reason to trust what he said. Although, the response seemed a little too self-effacing and insincere. If I was a vegan, with a partner who ran a pizza parlor with a vegan cheese option I’d probably want to know what brand of vegan cheese he was serving… wouldn’t you?

    We responded that it was GREAT news they were going to be offering “100% vegan cheese” and suggested they check out Teese as an option, considering how amazing it is on our favorite pizzas in town.

    We decided that Wednesday would be our big night out in Silverlake. We planned to go to a bar first, and then pay Lucifer’s a visit. Before we planned an evening around vegan pizza, we thought we’d call and check one last time. After our initial call was terminated by a frustrated worker: “They told me it’s VEGAN, OK?”, we called back a while later and had the following exchange:

    quarrygirl: hi, i’d like to find out what kind of vegan cheese you use.
    lucifers: it’s a soy based cheese from the roma supplier, i don’t know the brand, but it’s 100% vegan.
    quarrygirl: oh, are you sure? does it have casein in it, because casein is a milk—-
    lucifers: —-no, it doesn’t contain casein. we had a cheese that did, but this is a new casein-free cheese from our supplier. it came in today. i just don’t know the brand. but there is no casein.
    quarrygirl: thanks, we’ll be in tomorrow for a vegan pizza!
    lucifers: see you then

    Again, how much more reassuring could they be? Learning about what we vegans can eat is a rocky road, but we’re happy to work with food suppliers to help them get there. The fact he offered the information about casein really set our minds at ease. So, Wednesday night we had a beer at the Silverlake local Ye Rustic Inn before walking to Lucifer’s hungry as hell and looking forward to vegan pizza.

    We ordered a large pizza, with vegan cheese, garlic, mushrooms and tomatoes. As the guy taking the order was ringing it up, we engaged in a dialog as follows:

    quarrygirl: hey – have a quick question before you make the pizza. Is your cheese completely vegan?
    lucifers: yes, it’s a soy-based vegan cheese
    quarrygirl: that’s great. Would you mind bringing out the package so we could check it’s vegan?
    lucifers: sure thing, hold on.
    [brings large box of “soy cheese” from cooler in the back of the kitchen]
    quarrygirl: that says “soy cheese” – could you read out the ingredients?
    [tips the box toward me, where the ingredients are clearly visible, and starts reading]
    lucifers: soy protein, water, casein (a milk protein)….
    quarrygirl: hold on a sec, that’s not vegan cheese. Are you sure this is what you put on vegan pizzas?
    lucifers: yeah, this is what we put on it
    quarrygirl: but that’s not vegan…
    [turns to cash register, clearly annoyed]
    lucifers: —sorry, guys, goodnight then!

    Sorry indeed. And we’re sorry to break it to so many vegans that have been eating milk at Lucifer’s…. they are LIARS, CHEATS and care not about their customers. I have no doubt that they treat all their customers with such disrespect, be they omnivores or vegans.

    I could understand how somebody on a cash register, or taking my order over the ‘phone might be confused about what’s vegan, but Adam, who answers the website queries and feigns such vegan understanding should know better. He lied to us twice, his staff lied to us three times more and they have lied to and misled many vegans since they have been serving “vegan” cheese.


    Note to Adam’s partner: leave a comment with your email address and we’ll hook you up with a real vegan, not one that lies and doesn’t train his staff properly. If, that is, vegan partner you actually exist and are not just another Lucifer’s lie.

    While Lucifer’s Pizza might be in hell, Purgatory Pizza is closer to heaven in every way (stick to them from now on!).


    From: adam@luciferspizza.com
    Date: April 30, 2009 10:47:36 AM PDT
    Subject: RE: Vegan cheese

    The cheese arrived, however to my shock and disappointment with my supplier,
    it also contained Casein. We have pulled the cheese off the shelf and are
    only selling regular pizza until we can get our shipment of the Tease Cheese
    you recommended. I have ordered it yesterday so hopefully it will arrive in
    the next few days. It’s so frustrating that the suppliers are not on top of
    this, and that they are misleading the customers. I feel terrible about this
    especially as we have unknowingly served a product that is not 100% vegan.

    I will be in touch with you as soon as the cheese arrives. I will have you
    come in for a free meal to say thanks for all you help with this.

    Kind regards


    Seems genuine enough, but a really genuine move would have been to remove the pizza from the shelf weeks ago when it was first reported, don’t you think Adam? Plus, we called Lucifer’s twice after receiving this email, and they were still selling casein cheese as vegan.

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54 responses to “Lucifer’s Pizza: LIAR’S PIZZA, more like!” RSS icon

  • thanks for the heads up. but is quarrygirl a part owner of purgatory pizza or something?

  • I swear, does nobody learn from the Zpizza debacle?

  • Ah no. I’ve ordered vegan pizza From here several times. First Dee’s and now this. What is the world coming too? I called just now and got the exact same “vegan cheese” response. Ugh.

  • Greg: no connection to purgatory pizza at all. Happy to write crap about them if they ever deserve it. However, so far, they have been so diligent about vegan stuff by researching it extensively and being very straightforward about what’s in everything. Isn’t that all we need?

  • SCvegan: I learned about casein in so much “vegan” cheese thanks to you. I’ll do my best to propagate this knowledge everywhere.

  • Why do companies think they can get away with this?

  • With a name like Lucifer how can you go wrong? Short term stupidity = long term failure. Take the hit on your stupid purchase of soy cheese, go grab some Follow Your Heart at nearly any food retailer! If you want to be ultra cool order some Daiya and really do some penance for your devilish sins. I think I’m going to open up Jesus’s Pizza a 100% cruelty free vegan pizzaria with every kind of vegan cheese & topping as close as possibly to Lucifer when I get back. j/k

  • Cupcakebreeder

    Hey, I love your website and how you’re informing the readers about what they need to watch out. Kudos to your efforts and diligent posting. However, I think all your posts about revealing vegan restaurants’ reality appears harsh because of the tone of your blog posts. Of course, it is really sad and cruel that people will go out of their way to fool vegans and lie about something like that. You’ve certainly done the right thing by exposing those. But, that doesn’t mean that the owners of the restaurants suddenly become a total scumbags who deserve to be criticized by tons and thousands of anonymous internet people. It’s a small possibility but there could be another story of it, and it is still possible that they really didn’t know about it. Of course, it’s probably that they did lie to us. But you could’ve simply informed us and reported them, I’m thinking, which sounds like a wiser way to do it. But this is just my opinion.
    Anyway, thanks for posting this. Now we know another vegan restaurant to watch out.

  • Cupcakebreeder: I’ll for sure tone down future posts, but it’s hard work gathering evidence for this kind of thing, so writing the post is the only fun part! I’m about to go undercover into ninja mode with two LA restaurants that I’ve been assured are also lying about non-vegan ingredients in so-called vegan dishes. Stay tuned!

  • I feel a need to remark that I was one of the first to tell quarrygirl that they had vegan cheese, so feel especially ripped off.
    Also, a need to tell a story of the friend who ate that first pizza with me.
    He went back just a few days ago, had ordered a vegan pizza before he arrived to eat in because he was starving.
    After showing up, he purchased a water, and when the cashier asked him if he wanted anything else, he responded he had ordered the vegan pizza. The cashier affirmed this, too.
    After nearly an hour, and asking about the status of his pizza several times, and after the entire place had closed, he overheard some of the workers saying they didn’t want to wait around for just one person to show up for their pizza.
    He went up to ask about his pizza, and they said, oh, it must be this one.
    While the workers were waiting for someone to show up for the now cold pizza sitting in a box for an hour, none of them thought to even ask the one starving patron sitting in their restaurant if it was for him, even though he was asking about it.
    Grand finale, when they opened the box, they discovered they had made the pizza not even with the non vegan soy cheese, but real cheese, and they tried to persuade him that real cheese was soy cheese.
    They are beyond liars.
    Although for the record, Hunter was most upset because he liked their sauce. So I guess they did that right.
    Lucifer’s, I thought you were great for your decor, bringing me back to my goth roots. I thought you were great for your spicy sauce. I hate you for breaking Hunter’s heart with that sauce, lying to him and I about not only our soy cheese being vegan but his REAL cheese being vegan. And you did it all without a smile.
    Lucifer’s needs to realize that they are not only offending vegans by these actions, but risking the health of patrons with dairy allergies.
    I really hope it doesn’t come to someone getting sick to open their eyes about the serious nature of misrepresenting their products.

    Maybe Los Angeles needs to offer ‘vegan food standards 101’.

  • holy shit, this is bad enough for vegans but just think of people with allergies??!!

  • Yikes, that’s just wrong. I think Lucifer needs to spend some time in Purgatory…or even Tomato Joe’s. So glad you do all the legwork. Looking forward to your next undercover report. By the way, I appreciate your tone and especially like when you cuss.

  • Thanks for the headsup on this one quarrygirl! Agreed, it’s not only a “vegan” issue here, but an “honesty” issue and geez I feel for the poor people with “allergy” issues who’ve probably gotten sick off their so-called vegan cheese. Why is it so hard to read labels people?? “casein= milk product”…dur!!!

  • mr meaner – please tell me one of the restaurants is a certain thai establishment with stretchy “vegan” cheese!

    i really hate the fact that people can advertise items as being vegan when they are not, and can get away with it. unfortunately i don’t think it’s considered a violation of any kind, and there for nothing to report. it’s BS.

    lex i love your idea of jesus’s pizza… hahaha!

  • thanks to quarrygirl for this post. i have been eating from lucifer’s for several weeks. i made certain to ask several times about if the cheese was vegan, and i spoke to somebody who might have been called alex or adam two weeks ago who assured me that the cheese was “100% vegan with no casein”. i wish I had the guts to walk in and ask to see the packaging like you guys do. thanks for doing this.

  • i just called them as they open at 11am. they confirmed they had vegan cheese, but it does have casein in it. they knew that without going to check. not sure if this is one step forward or one step back. lol.

  • There are two reason why I rarely go out to eat: 1. I’m cheap! 2. I absolutely sure that I am eating a vegan meal.

  • Thank goodness for Purgatory Pizza and its extremely vegan-friendly proprietor! Thank you for your stellar investigative reporting. I might not eat out again until I read your posts about the other 2 offenders.

  • Wow. It is funny. I got the vegan pizza idea from the wonderfully knowledgeable well informed Jen Shaggy. Knew NOTHING about vegan things. I’m kind of an obsessive person who very much values my reputation though and DUG into EVERYTHING I could learn about veganism. We tried and tested cheeses and checked all ingredients. Decided on Teese as the best out there. Then slowly tested “meat” toppings and found two we love. We bought separate utensils to use and rearranged our reach in so NO real cheese would fall into sauce or anything. That is it. It was SO simple. Part of this happened because I HATE people who promise something and do not care enough to really make certain they fulfill their promises by taking time to ensure what they said was true. (so I refuse to be one of them) Part of this happened because it was not that hard to do!!!

    I know it must be very difficult to find tasty offerings when eating out when you have made a commitment to become a vegan. I also VERY MUCH respect that kind of commitment. Ya know what? I PROMISE to never fuck it up for you! If you come to PP and we screw up, let me know IMMEDIATELY. It will not be that your food is not vegan though. But if it is burnt or underdone or we get too busy to make it perfect, we do wanna know and want to fix it however we can.

    THANK YOU to Quarry Girl! No, the people involved in this blog have NO association to PP. I think we are just like minded in that we value the same sorts of things so have a mutual appreciation for each other. Plus…my pizza is pretty damn tasty. 😉

  • oops! In case ya do not know it says “Kelley” above. I am owner of Purgatory Pizza. Shoulda included that… Please do let me know if you have ANY issues with us. purgatorypizza@yahoo.com

  • 3 cheers for Kelley & PP! 😀 Ok, was that so hard? For a restauranteur/vegan co to come in and give their 2 cents about business ethics & honestly. Maybe so-called “vegan” companies/product-pushers just need a clear defination of the word “vegan.” I don’t get that whole “yes it’s vegan and it has casein in it” response from Lucifer’s. wtf??

  • oh ya know what is funny? Last time I dealt with health inspector I told him about my vegan offerings. He asked me if their was any certification needed maybe something like they do for kosher food. I told him “no”. Maybe there SHOULD be? I would think it is a business idea. For a vegan to offer a certification after doing an inspection. Ya know, the place could hang it on the wall. You could charge for the inspection and certificate.

  • purgatory all the way for me now. kelley makes better vegan pizza with real vegan cheese than lucifer’s does with milk-based cheese.

  • Purgatory for life!

    Thanks for the kudos on my blog, QuarryGirl. You know as well as I do that it’s a labor of love. 🙂

  • Purgatory for life! Thanks, Kelley. You rock.

    And thanks for the kudos on my blog, QuarryGirl. You know as well as I do that it’s a labor of love. 🙂

  • As a vegan who works in the foodservice industry, I can tell you that this type of thing happens. A lot. It’s not that they are trying to deceive you – it’s that they don’t know any better. The gap between general idea and actual knowledge is a wide one, further widened by a general lack of desire to learn.

    To many culinarians, colleagues of mine included, putting chicken base in rice (or alfredo sauce) is normal operating procedure. And when you ask for a vegetarian entree (or if something is vegetarian) they will tell you that it is – without hesitation. Again, it’s not because they are trying to deceive you, or even that they’re too lazy to find out or make something else, it’s that they don’t know any better because there’s no meat in it so it must be vegetarian.

    Imagine taking that same logic, or approach, to something as minimal (to us, it’s not, but to them it is) as some milk-related item in what is labeled as “non-dairy cheese”. The underlying problem are these companies (and the FDA) that allow products to be billed as non-dairy despite containing dairy (non-dairy creamer, for instance).

    And don’t even get me started on cross contamination – I have trouble eating at even dedicated vegetarian restaurants.

  • never heard of this place but when it gets teese in let us know and ill head over there!

  • “they will tell you that it is – without hesitation. Again, it’s not because they are trying to deceive you, or even that they’re too lazy to find out or make something else, it’s that they don’t know any better because there’s no meat in it so it must be vegetarian.” This IS lazy!!!! It is too lazy to educate yourself to the needs of your clients. Plus…chicken both is CLEARLY made with chicken so also…kinda dumb

  • I don’t think there’s enough cussing in this post. Can you please fix it? Thank you.

  • “This IS lazy!!!! It is too lazy to educate yourself to the needs of your clients.”

    I see your point – and even how it could be interpreted as laziness.

    I disagree, however, that people in the foodservice industry are too lazy to educate themselves to the needs of their clients. I think you’re confusing ignorance with laziness.

    We (meaning the those in the foodservice industry) are very accommodating to our clients and their needs. But unless we have a more intimate relationship with a particular aversion to certain foodstuffs it’s difficult to understand why and, more importantly, how you eat what you do.

    I’m not from the Los Angeles area, but I understand that your establishment serves some of the best (only?) vegan pizza in the area and kudos to you. From your post above it seems that have thought of almost everything – how to arrange the prep area, etc. This (unfortunately) isn’t standard operating procedure for most establishments. You’ve gone above and beyond and you’re being rewarded for that extra effort by all of traffic blogs like this see.

    That’s not even to mention the ambiguous term, and degree to which it is adhered to. I recently got to spend some time with a vegan friend whom I hadn’t seen in 6 or so years. I was shocked when he ordered a pizza for he and his girlfriend – half with cheese, half without. I couldn’t even fathom considering that vegan – but it worked for him. I can’t tell you how many vegetarians I know that have no qualms about ordering french fries (or anything fried) without even asking if it’s fried in a separate fryer. I still remember anxiously waiting Erik Marcus’s response about the news that Burger King’s new (at the time) Veggie Burger that had minute amounts of dairy in the bun. He decided he was OK with it as the importance and impact of their even carrying such a product outweighed such an inclusion.

    I’m sure there are plenty of vegans out there, reading this post (and these comments) and hiding in the shadows that would have no qualms about eating casein.

  • Jason: it is laziness, and deception. While I can understand an honest mistake, the facts are that Lucifer’s was informed about the non-vegan cheese on many occasions, Adam knew about the issue a week ago. If he gave a shit (adding cuss word for foodeater) he’d have removed it from sale then.

    Also, if you’re a vegan and going to eat cheese with casein, you might as well eat regular cheese as the volume of casein-based soy cheese is about 70% milk-protein. The soy is used to replace the creamy part of the cheese only. Soy cheese doesn’t even have less calories than regular cheese.

    No, Adam knew about the non-vegan cheese and presumably chose not to inform his staff who were selling it as of this morning. Our initial contact with him would have substantiated an honest mistake, but Adam misled by omission, which is the same as lying.

  • I’m not speaking in terms of this particular incident. In this case, it was both very lazy and very dishonest.

    I’m also not speaking for myself when it concerns eating casein. I’m just saying that it happens and it’s their personal viewpoint of what it entails to be vegan and why they are vegan. There are too many different reasons for choosing a vegan diet (and not all of them necessarily good).

    Just like anything, there are very passive and very aggressive extremes to veganism. The online community (and specifically, the ones that start blogs – and those that comment on them) are almost certainly the latter.

  • Jason: totally agree. that’s why I’m never going back to PPK again!

    BTW: I love your site. I’m going to make this at the weekend:


    Hurry up and post the marinara recipe!

  • mr. meaner : i second the whole “please investigate a certain that place with stretchy cheese”thing.. !! vegan ninja’s ftw!

  • alex: expose coming right up. my vegan ducks are in a row.

  • Jason, I get your point but ultimately it’s about truth in labeling. While there are varying degrees of how strict different people are with their veganism, there’s only one definition for what vegan food is or is not.

    While it might not be an issue for some to consume a small amount of casein (or whey, or honey, etc…), it is for others (and for some, allergies are a concern), so there needs to be a certain standard that those in the food service industry uphold. Just like they can’t call something kosher if it’s not 100% kosher, they can’t call something vegan if it’s not 100% vegan. It’s not about what you or I are willing to eat that might not be strictly vegan, it’s about the restaurants not having the right to decide that for us by mislabeling their ingredients, either on purpose or out of ignorance.

  • I feel your pain, Foodeater, and I wish things were different. But what I’m saying is there isn’t just one definition of what vegan food is or is not. Each person makes that decision for themselves.

    You’re absolutely right, that we need a more definitive definition that we can be held accountable, but that seems unlikely. It took how long for the certified organic standards to be put into place? 10 years? I’m constantly reassured by vegan.org’s emblem on some foodstuffs that I eat, but they’re on only a fraction of them and I can’t force everyone else to use it.

    As veg(etari)anism continues to grow, so will the knowledge and acceptance by those in the mainstream. In the meantime all we can do is what we’re doing here – calling companies/restaurants/manufacturers out for the deception and lack of (or unwillingness in some cases) understanding of the subject.

  • TangerineTangerine

    i can only imagine how annoying it was- i got annoyed just by reading this… i always order vegetarian pizza w/o cheese (of any kind)- have never ordered pizza w/ vegan cheese – since its not available where I live but i’m so used to it by now. i do always ask for the ingredients of soy mince- and only trust my own eyes. some ppl dont know, and then u have those like from ur story- that just dont take us vegans seriously. imagine lying like that to a person allergic to some substance!

  • Jason, I have to disagree as there already is a set definition for what vegan means, as established by the Vegan Society:

    “The word “veganism” denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals”

    While we as individuals can pick and choose how closely we want to adhere to that or not and still consider ourselves vegan, companies selling food do not get that same wiggle room and should not be allowed to get away with calling something vegan if does not fit that definition. If there is an ingredient in what they are serving that is “derived wholly or partly from animals” than it’s not vegan, no matter how close it is, no matter how bad they want it to be, no matter how much easier it makes things if they just say it is.

    The bottom line is that it’s my choice if I want to eat casein or whey or carmine, not the choice of Lucifer’s Pizza, Dee’s Donuts or anyone else. Selling me something as vegan should be a guarantee that nothing in what I’m eating came from an animal – this is not something that is negotiable or even a matter of opinion. It would be great if there was some sort of “official” certification for foods being sold as vegan like there is for organic, but on the other hand, the whole organic certification process has turned into just another money making scam and many real organic farmers can’t even afford to get certification, while big corporations who can are stretching and diluting the definition of what organic actually means. I would hate to see something similar happen with vegan foods as it would put most smaller vegan food suppliers out of business. It’s really unfortunate however that places like this pizza joint and others take advantage of the trust we put in them as vegans willing to eat their food in the absence of such legal guidelines, taking them on their word for it that something is vegan if they say it is.

    Someone who is allergic to peanuts could die if just a tiny bit of some peanut derivative makes it into their food, so if a restaurant lies about that, it’s a really big deal. While most vegans probably won’t die from consuming a minuscule amount of casein, I don’t understand why the standards or accountability for ingredients should be any less strict.

  • “Just like anything, there are very passive and very aggressive extremes to veganism. The online community (and specifically, the ones that start blogs – and those that comment on them) are almost certainly the latter.”

    Jason: Props to you for using some rationale here and pointing out the big picture. I can’t say what Lucifer’s was thinking as it is very risky business to assume people’s motivations, but your points about food service and aggressive extremes are very important.

    Convincing a meat-eater to eat a vegetarian meal once a week would save many, many more animals than if all soy cheeses eliminated casein. I don’t eat casein and would never argue that it is vegan, but if the point of veganism continues to be purity and absolutism than fewer people will be attracted to it = more animals killed.

  • “…as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose”

    There’s more wiggle room there than you give it credit for. Some vegans may not see casein, whey, carmine, honey, etc as (meaningful) exploitation (or in some of the cases insects as animals). They also may not think it’s practical and/or possible to try to be so pure that it makes it both unnecessary as well as burdensome.

    You also have to consider the many reasons for becoming vegetarian – some of which have nothing to do with animal rights/welfare.

    Again, I think you’re confusing my statements with a defense of Lucifer’s Pizza. I am not defending their actions as something that should be done. I’m trying to give it context.

    It seems pretty reasonable to *most* people that a vegetarian product that is labeled “non-dairy” is and/or should be vegan. This is a pretty easy leap of faith that happens far more than you may give it credit for.

    One of the first questions I ask when being told a cheese is vegan is “Is their casein in it?” followed by “What brand is it”. It seems there were many inquiries into the veganness of the cheese in question – and there should have been. It also seems as though they got the correct information each time they asked – when asked to read the list of ingredients as well as when asked to see the packaging.

  • Jason, I’m not confusing what you are saying as a defense of Lucifer’s Pizza. I think that in essence, we are basically in agreement.

    Where our opinions differ is that I feel that regardless of any wiggle room we may allow ourselves as vegans or not, what is sold as a Vegan product to the public doesn’t get that same wiggle room. Again, it’s about truth in labeling. And again to refer to my previous example, just as there is no such thing as “kinda kosher” there’s no such thing as “kinda vegan”. I’m not saying someone is bad or wrong if they want to go ahead and eat soy cheese that is made with casein, but what I am saying is that it’s bad business and dishonest for any restaurant or company to sell something as vegan when it isn’t.

  • Again, you’re not giving credit to the wiggle room in kosher dietary law. There are several different Kashurt Authorities that each have a different standard. Everything from Star K to OU there is a fundamental gap in how each authority decides which products are kosher. I’m stealing someone else’s quote, but:

    According to the September/October 1989 issue of Viewpoint, a magazine from the National Council of Young Israel, “a tiny minority of rabbis permit pork gelatin as a kosher product!”

    Seriously? Pork gelatin is kosher? We all remember Emes, right? Not necessarily pork, but should have at least been classified as Kosher-Meat, right? I wish it weren’t the case, but it is.

    I cringe every time someone with a dietary allergen (or aversion) comes to one of my restaurants or banquets. Whether it’s a vegetarian looking for more than a salad or someone with celiac’s I have to cross my fingers that they won’t get sick or get something that’s advertised as one thing but is something else. We do our best, but we’re not perfect.

    The best advice I can give you is: ask a lot of questions. To the point that it may be bothersome to the chef and/or server. Just keep asking every question you ask yourself when you’re out food shopping and looking at new products.

    As an aside: I’ll be adding your blog to my RSS feeds – great stuff!

  • Jason, glad you like my blog, thanks for stopping by! I hope it didn’t bore you with the lack of drama 😉

    In regards to varying standards for kosher foods, I think this has a lot more to do with political and monetary forces than it does with what an actual practicing kosher eater considers kosher for themselves, or what the old Jewish laws say about the matter. This relates to what I was talking about a few comments back in relation to what happened after ‘organic’ became standardized.

    Big money gets involved and then terms like ‘organic’ and ‘kosher’ start to get redefined and diluted by the big businesses who want to manipulate the system. It’s no different with kosher foods… the only reason some rabbis will permit something as disgusting and non-kosher as pork gelatin into a kosher product is most likely because someone with a lot of money invested in pork gelatin has paid them off to do so. This has already happened in the organic industry with numerous chemicals and pesticides now being made permissible under the organic seal of approval. The same thing would happen if the word “vegan” were to become standardized with labels and official seals… eventually some company that feels they can make a better profit selling soy cheese with casein or veggie burgers made with whey pays off the regulatory board and the next thing you know, they are allowed to stick a vegan sticker on a product that isn’t 100% vegan.

    That’s why I’m glad that blogs like this one aren’t afraid to call foul when they see something messed up going on. I’d much rather see this sort of thing getting monitored from within the community and be dealt with by word of mouth rather than see it be put into the hands of the same organizations and businesses who will do whatever they can to get away with as much as possible.

  • Yeah, even more of a bummer is when my veeg friend and I went to Lucifer’s they tried to pass off REAL CHEESE to us after a. forgetting we were even there b. getting the ingredients wrong on our pie c. being asked mid order once again if they were using vegan cheese. I’ll never go back there again.

    And while I’m at it… why does Trader Joe’s bother to carry soy cheese when it has casein in it? Who actually buys that stuff?

  • Dare I suggest legal action against them? Over here on the tort crazy east coast it’s rare to have these kinds of problems since everyone knows false advertising like this results in civil suits. The ‘testimonials’ I’m seeing here would result in a class action lawsuit and some lying sacks out of the food service business.

  • Jerome Nelson

    You know what? Fuck you faggot vegans. I’ll serve you raw, bloody meat if I fucking care to do so. Kiss my ass.

  • Seriously, you wonder why normal people hate vegans? How difficult can you be? People bend over backwards to accomodate you and you still have to be millitant assholes over a soy cheese that contains less than 2% of a milk derived ingredient? Trust me it does nothing for your cause. Which doesn’t make much sense anyway. Why not eat humane organic meat. Its yummy and doesn’t require any self rightous asshole rhetoric! Yeah Meat!!!

  • I just had the WORST experience here.
    I had ordered a vegan pizza, again like above, ask over n over if it was in fact vegan they assured me it was.

    NOTE TO “LOLA” Some vegans have no ” choice” with being vegan. It for me is mostly about being severly LACTOSE INTOLERANT. I will not put anymore of my energy into you or others ” mindless and ignorant” comments.

    When the pizza arrived we all looked at it, and to our dismay, this pizza looked like a thousand island soup.
    Visualize it, ya , doesn’t look so good does it!

    When all our confused faces turned to the guy delivering it, he akwardly, without any confidence, told us it was soy. It was Vegan. I told him how i had ordered a few times and how much the other pizzas not only looked better, but ..bite..tasted better. eww.
    Again, with a displacent look and a no care attitude, kept reiterating how it’s the same, it’s soy, it’s vegan, they made it this morning.

    *note: found out on THIS website that it has NEVER been vegan.
    sings..lies lies lies, yeAhhh..

    I told him , ok, sure, lets give you this back and we will just get one without cheese. It’s fine. We will even pik it up.
    keep the 4 bucks and the rest of the bill. see u n 20.

    I than called while i was waiting to let whomever i had placed the order with, my situation, and here is where the last hour of my life has gone straight to hell.

    The guy on the phone responded to my situaion with not only pure rudeness, but straight up Spanish inquisition style.
    Baically telling me that it had always been this way, i’m wrong, and he didn’t give a shit.

    I decided to drive down there, with a positive smile on my face, hey! i’ll just grab my pizza and ask to speak with this guy, clear it up, be totally cool about it, he will too, and go back to my sunday.

    I arrived, and waited. The guy who had delivered it was handing people their orders, and kinda stayin clear of me. He than told me pizza would b up n a minute. I said thanx:)

    When my pizza was ready it was brought to the counter by this short little guy n a baseball cap. I’m 5’2 and he was almost eyelevel with me. I’m noting this because at NO time did he look me n the eyes.

    I asked him if he was the one i had talked to. He said yes. I than totally cool, tried to tell him the situation, just like ” hey…i wasn’t trying to make a fuss but it’s not the same, and when i was talking to you on the phone, you hung up on me. ” him ” i didn’t hang up on u, u said bye” i wasn’t about to argue, knowing many people like this short little insecure BOY, i started to add something when he told me to my face eyes wandering, ” Get outta here, outta my face.” Really? i asked. He said it a second time.

    Que other BOY who was the first person with a tiny weenie bit of people and buisness skills.

    LET’S NOT FORGET this is a BUISNESS. I am being sold something, and these people are in fact selling it to me. Customer service note people, if you are a complete asshole, and lier, go be a lawyer.

    Ok, so now the pizza situation is gone. Now i have a personal situation. I can not tell whomever is reading this enough, in which kind of manner i was trying to deal with these people. I’m not some croutchity( yes i used that make believe word) jerk who likes to get involved in confrontations with service people, nor do i ever write about any situaiton gone astray. This is a first.

    I now have a tall boy slide right over to “calm” the situation.
    calm what situation, i’m not yelling, or cursing, i actually apoligized to the pooor widdle delivery boy who evidently ran bak to the shop crying how we “offended” him when we weren’t convinced abot the vegan thing.

    I told him, ” hey man, i didn’t mean to offend or gang up on you. We were just looking at this shitty pizza and you offered absolutlely no confidence when answering us about ut. It’s pizza man, that’s it. to take offense, do right. I’m kewl with gettin a cheeseless, i’m not cool with THAT*points to shorty in corner”

    The tall boy explained the situation, how before it wasn’t , now it is, blah blah blah.” Listen” i said, “i don’t really care about the pizza, actually since homie left with the pie back to you, i haven’t cared at all. It’s all of the attitude, lying, and just plain bullshit i am dealing with.”

    Talked to him for a couple of minutes, little dude still in corner, delivery dude now at cash register being his akward, somewhat errogant self. * YOU GUYS WORK AT A PIZZA JOINT..which makes NO FUCKING differnce to me. We are all human. But when YOU the sales and ME the customer has this happen to them, well, it brings me to the end of this novel.

    I haved lived in Los Feliz for quite some time, what bothers me sooo much about this sitation isn’t the pizza. It’s the sheer fact they say they are a ” Neighborhood” pizza joint. They come into los Feliz with this little show and all act. Which BTW is a complete rip off of another aussie chain.
    They come into my neighborhood, treat me like shit, and than expect me to be cool? Would you be cool?
    Just like i asked delivery guy. If you had gotten something that looked completly different than it had always looked, wouldn’t you just ask? and than be completly suprised and horrfied the way in which all these people were treating you?

    Plain and simple.

    It sucks man, i’m a girl. I’m 5’2 and tinnny. i’m not a jerk. i tip well
    ( got my 5 bucks thrown at me..delivery guy said it wasnt even that much…pie was 25. doooode.) and the whole time i just wanted someone to care. Not like comp everything kiss my ass bullshit care, just a simple ” i’m sorry ” i would of walked out with my pie and been fine.

    Instead, make the little girl feel like shit, let’s be rude as fuck to her, let’s send her off n tears because she’s so frustrated and just wants to go off.
    *i didn’t go off..and that’s what matters.

    expose this “neighborhood” pizzeria for what it is.
    A SHAM, and a bunch of rude, lying, immature wankers.
    Again, I have never gone so far as to contact anyone about a situation, but theese people, and this establishment, can go straight to hell.

  • First of all, Lucifer’s and Ye Rustic Inn are in Los Feliz, not Silverlake. It’s the heart of Los Feliz Village so you might want to fix that up.

    As for Lucifer’s and their lying about vegan cheese, I think more than them willfully trying to trick you, they are just demented there. I’m vegetarian, but not vegan and the first time I went there I asked for a pizza that usually came with prosciutto as well as other things I really love in a pizza, so I asked for the pizza without the prosciutto. Simple request and I got it home without the prosciutto. Sadly the spinach and garlic missing also. I called them and asked for a replacement, this time, they added wilted spinach, still forgot the garlic and also left off the mozerella and chilli altogether.

    I swore them off after that, but once the gluten free and vegan cheese flyer came in, (my husband needing both) we went back, excited to have a pizza we could both eat within walking distance. They managed to get it right that time (after my husband was on the phone for a ridiculously long time due to their ineptitude in taking the order), and just barely the time after that (again taking a long time and needing corrections). The staff just seems clueless and confused all the time so I think that’s a huge part of their problem. Every time I’ve dealt with them it’s like it’s the person’s second day on the job.

    Thanks for all your hard work! I think it paid off because on that last visit they said they had the Tease Cheese.

  • Heather is a typical vegan asshole. Why dont you drop dead and do the world a favor you whiny cunt?

  • Hey anti-vegan assholes, some of us are vegan because we have food allergies. If we eat dairy we get sick. Ever heard of that or are you too stupid or fat-assed to comprehend?

    Deal with it.

  • YouKnowWhoIAM

    Actually I was an employee there when Adam first brought the vegan cheese into the restaurant. I being vegan for 8 years of my life told him that it had casein, which didn’t make it officially vegan. His response was, and I quote “Who the fuck cares? These hipster assholes won’t know the difference”. So yes Adam did know from the beginning knowing it wasn’t vegan cheese and he didn’t do anything about it. If anyone knew as much as I did, they wouldn’t be eating there at all. Also, here’s a side note for all you gluten-free people that love the “gluten-free” dough there. In order for it to be completely gluten free, the pizza’s need to be cooked in separete pans or pizza screens in order to avoid cross contamination from the regular dough. Again I told him this and he said not to tell that information to people and kept on cooking it with the regular pizza screens and contaminating the “gluten free” dough.

  • YouKnowWhoIAM

    Oh by the way, his partner is not vegan as I saw him eat many meat lover slices within feet from me. Do not believe this restaurants lies.

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