• Mani’s on Maple: Vegans, don’t bother

    October 22nd, 2010mr meanerLA restaurants, mani's bakery (closed)

    UPDATE: please check out the official response that mani’s left in the comment section!

    Back in the 90s, Elton used to invite me to his Academy Awards after-party at Maple Drive, one of LA’s trendiest restaurants. Situated on the lower floor of then-Hollywood hot studio Castle Rock Pictures, Maple Drive was a stunning exemplification of the excesses of Hollywood at that time. Over the years, though, Maple Drive fell into decline, and perhaps the final nail in the coffin was the death of its owner, actor Dudley Moore. The restaurant closed not long after he passed away.

    The tremendous location on tree-lined Maple Drive in Beverly Hills remained boarded up for a while until one of our favorite vegan-friendly restaurants, Mani’s Bakery, took over the space recently and relocated their operations lock stock and barrel from the Fairfax district, naming the new location, fittingly, “Mani’s on Maple”.

    We’ve raved about the old Mani’s location a number of times before and even mounted a campaign to get them more customers when the owner put a message on the website saying that they were in danger of closing. We dined there nearly every weekend, I’d drive across town for lunches with colleagues and we blogged and tweeted about it until we were blue in the face. The rest of the vegan community clearly did the same, and we were pleasantly surprised to find familiar vegan faces at Mani’s just about every time we visited.

    Well, I’m sad to report that just like the former, storied Maple Drive Restaurant that plummeted out of fashion and into decline, Mani’s has done the exact same thing – at least as far as vegans are concerned. After all, our recent experience exposed non-vegan food served to us that wasn’t the usual kitchen mistake or hidden ingredient, but a complete breakdown of organization from the proprieter through to the serving staff. Read on to find out just how crappy Manis is for vegans.

    You’d think me nuts for saying this just by looking at the menu. It’s full of vegan offerings: burgers, sandwiches and even a Banh Mi-style sandwich. There are seitan and tofu options for most things, and a reassuring “V” sign next to all the items that are allegedly vegan. Indeed, the menu even goes so far as to have a whole call-out about how vegan the vegan offerings are:

    the legend as it appears on Mani's menu

    So, it was with a double dose of nostalgia that we hit up Mani’s on Maple for lunch this week. The space certainly reminded me of the old days, and I can still hear the echo of Elton’s distinctive laugh as he mingled through the crowd. Further familiarities included the friendly Mani’s staff, the beaming and bespectacled Mr. Larry Maiman (co-founder) buzzing around, the distinctive colorful menu sorted into tabs and large plates of delicious-looking food everywhere.

    We settled into a comfortable booth on the back wall and ordered the Vegan Sliders and Vegan Banh Mi asking the server to check with the kitchen to ensure that the bread and all ingredients were vegan, and she promised she would.

    "Vegan Sliders" as seen on Mani's menu

    "Vegan Banh Mi" as seen on Mani's menu

    A few minutes later, two wonderful-looking plates of food arrived. Again, we asked the server if everything was vegan and she said: “Yes, I asked the chef and everything here is 100% vegan”.

    Well, we snapped some pictures and began to eat our lunch. Very quickly, we noticed that the bread had a very “buttery” texture and taste. Again, we asked if everything was vegan: “Yes, I checked with the chef. Everything is vegan.”.

    We looked up the menu online, and noted that Mani’s serves by default “Brioche” bread (Wikipedia describes it thus: “Brioche is a highly enriched French bread, whose high egg and butter content give it a rich and tender crumb. It has a dark, golden, and flaky crust from an egg wash applied after proofing.”). Hardly vegan. I got up to find our server, and asked her to check again with the kitchen, while we stopped eating.

    A few minutes later, Christopher Hopgood, the restaurant’s GM, came to our table to apologize in a highly funereal tone that the bread we’d eaten wasn’t in fact vegan but contained egg and butter as we had suspected. Not only that, he said that none of the buns are vegan and therefore neither of the dishes that say “vegan” which we ordered actually are. Indeed, he wasn’t sure if any of the breads are vegan, stating that they used honey in many of them and “well, the bakery isn’t really ready yet”. When we asked him how they could have made such a mistake, and he responded “We all proof-read the menu, and these vegan dishes are a mistake. We will take steps right away to correct this.”.

    Don’t get me wrong, Mr. Hopgood was very polite and genuinely apologetic (especially as he had no idea that we had a vegan blog). He comped our lunch (no shit, considering we ate very little), and gave us a gift certificate which we’ll use one evening to go for a few drinks, as there’s no way I can trust the food at Mani’s ever again.

    We asked FOUR times if the food was vegan, and only on the final pushy request did somebody actually bother to find out for sure. I believe that Mani’s is one of the sad breed of restaurants in LA that are cashing in on the “Vegan” word, slapping some ostensibly vegan ingredients into non-vegan items they already have on the menu, as well as not training their servers and kitchen staff apropriately.

    Manis: if you can’t do vegan food properly then don’t do it at all.
    Vegans: You might want to AVOID MANI’S.

    Clearly, they’re not up-front about what’s in the food and the fact that we had to go through so much to get to the truth speaks volumes about the attitude they have not only about vegan customers but their clientele in general. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. And if you want to know why I don’t eat eggs? This report will give you some of the reasons.

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108 responses to “Mani’s on Maple: Vegans, don’t bother” RSS icon

  • I never understood why you guys likes Manis so much anyway. They were always screwing up my order with non-vegan cheese and could never explain what was in anything. I gave up on them ages ago.

  • this is reeally bad news as i was there last week and had the exact same thing you did (vegan sliders). the server swore to me that everything was vegan and pointed out that section on the menu.

    how fucking dissapointing. if i wanted an mouthful of butter and egg i would have had breakfast at mcdonald’s.

  • WHAAAA???? FUCK THEM. I was gonna go there next week for lunch. Tell me, HOWW could they fuck up so bad? I mean a vegan menu item that can’t be made vegan? Good job my friend who is lactose intolerant didn’t go there. She would have passed out after eating that bread roll.

    Fucking idiots.

  • I went there years ago (Fairfax location) and they were using soy cheese with casein in it as the vegan cheese. I don’t know if they switched, because that was so long ago, but I haven’t been back. Looks like not much has changed.

  • that was a sad lunch indeed. 🙁 i’ve been vegan for years, and this is one of the biggest violations i’ve had. and where i least expect it too, from a menu item that SAYS “VEGAN” ON IT! i was gutted!

  • That is dissapointing! Have you checked back – have they changed the menu or gotten vegan buns? That might make me feel SLIGHTLY better – but I’m still not going to make any plans to eat there…

  • Too many places are cashing in on the Vegan fad now. As QG said, it’s too easy to slap a few vegan items on bread that they already use on the other menu items. When a person that is not Vegan, runs a restaurant and only thinks of profit. It comes down to, what they don’t know won’t hurt them.

    Fuck Mani’s…..spread the word.

  • Oh noooooooooo! This makes me sooooo sad. I loved Mani’s when it was on Fairfax. I craved their tofu wraps and seitan sandwiches. This is one of the most disappointing things as a vegan, which has happened to many of us,…to find out AFTER you’ve eaten, or even WHILE you’re eating, that what you’re eating is cruelty…especially when you’ve inquired MULTIPLE times about the ingredients. Good job, Quarry girl, for looking it up right while you were there. (I don’t have Internet on my phone. This is reason enough to get it…haha).

  • This is such a bummer. I used to love Mani’s on Fairfax. Good to know, though, that I needn’t bother trekking it out to their new location.

  • I got screwed the other day at Freshii with a rouge bit of chicken in my tofu noodle bowl. I nearly vomited when I bit into it and will never be going back there again and am contemplating staying to 100% vegan restaurants from now on. I’ve gotten to this point many times in the past, but every time I get screwed like you all did it reinforces me to try harder to only patronize vegan & vegan owned businesses.

  • why I’m not shocked! You should not trust any Restaurant that is not vegetarian and have Vegan option. I stopped eating at Mani 7 years ago when they served me a pizza with non vegan pesto, and they insisted that it was. What a lot of these restaurants fail to know, that some vegans do have very sensitive taste and they can figure out if food is vegan or not. Swingers is another place to stay away from, even if their menu list vegan options, I can taste and smell dairy on all the vegan dishes.

  • i understand the outrage, but perhaps this was the kick in the pants that they needed? i’m all for second chances, and if they correct their mistakes, i would be more than happy to check them out again.

  • Oh before I forget. I have the same instinct with hugo’s restaurant. I really think their food is not all that Vegan. Even if the ingredients is, I think it’s not in preparation. Any place that does not understand the vegan etiquette and serve meat, would not care enough how you food is prepared.

  • Glad you mentioned Swingers, Nabil. Their “vegan” items are not vegan either. I went there a couple weeks ago, only because I was in the area, late at night, hungry, and it was the only place open. Their veggie burger is listed as “vegan.” I asked the waitress if the bun is vegan; she said no. I asked why it’s listed as vegan on the menu; she said that the veggie burger is vegan, but not the bun. So, again, I asked why the ENTIRE meal is listed as vegan on the menu, if the bun, which is what the veggie burger is enveloped in, is not vegan. Her response was that no one has ever bothered to ask if the bun is vegan. I will never go to Swingers again, partially because they lie, partially because it’s not even good, and partially because I feel like every person who works there struggles with basic comprehension. But, I’m still holding out hope that Mani’s will change its ways.

  • I’ve only eaten at Mani’s once, I wasn’t impressed.

  • I work at Fox Interactive in the same building as Manis. I’m a 10+ year vegan and have eaten there several times since they opened recently. I’ve chatted about the vegan options with the staff (including the owner who is in your picture), and I’ve ordered the banh mi twice, assuming it was vegan.

    I’m almost in tears here at how the place could be so negligent as to let this happen. I’m never going to eat there again, and will stop as many people in my office as possible from doing the same.

    Your experiences and mine will cost them dearly.


  • I had the same experience at Hugo’s about a year ago. Asked repeatedly for confirmation that a sandwich which said it could be made vegan (with the little vegan symbol beside it on the menu) was in fact vegan, especially the bread. They confirmed, numerous times, that it absolutely was.

    Mid-meal, the manager came over and said there was egg brushed on the roll so it wasn’t vegan at all. I was absolutely livid. Felt sick and violated for ages.

    This pisses me off SO MUCH. If you don’t know what vegan is, don’t advertise it. If you don’t sell vegan food, don’t say it is. FUCK THIS SHIT. WHAT CAN WE DO TO PUT THESE PLACES OUT OF BUSINESS (or at least keep them from saying they’re vegan when they aren’t)?!?!

  • This is just when you feel like solemnly informing the management that you are deathly allergic to dairy, are on your way to the hospital, and that they will be hearing from your lawyer.

  • Manis has never had a good reputation for LA vegans. I’d say of all the omni places catering for vegans specifically, Mani’s is the one that is the most clueless about what’s actually in their food and whose serving staff makes the most mistakes.

    My experience is littered with questioning every detail of the food, and last time when I was served non-vegan bread I never went back.

    Your experiences don’t surprise me at all, and Manis is clearly just trying to cash in on the vegan craze. They don’t know about vegans and don’t care about us either.

    There are far better places to go around town. And, from what I hear, their non-vegan food isnt that great either.

  • A waitress at Houston’s described the buns on the veggie burgers as not being vegan because they are egg brushed as well.

  • this is really disappointing. i didn’t know about this location (i live close to the recently-closed fairfax location) and i’ll think twice about visiting the maple location.

    bummer. thanks for letting us know, qg.

  • Years ago when I was looking for wedding cakes, I asked Mani’s what the vegan options were. The worker said that it could be vegan except for one egg or two will be in the mix. I replied it wouldn’t be vegan if even a drop of egg was in the batter, she shrugged her shoulders and said one or two eggs wasn’t a big deal. Obviously I wasn’t interested in Mani’s anymore. With that kind of attitude, I wasn’t going to give them a dime.

  • @ W. You should not even order the vegan burgers or any thing grilled (including Vegetable) at Hugo’s. They use only one grille for everything including meet.

  • Fuck these assholes. I have no idea why L.A. vegans go out of their way to support non-veg restaurants, when local vegan places are struggling and even closing down. Perhaps we deserve to get tooled.

  • Gosh, i knew you could not trust regular restaurants to make your food vegan, but a place that makes special accommodations, WOW. I will keep taking my chances at places my family and friends actually enjoy eating at

  • I ate a “vegan” burger there last week.

    Fuck those cunts,seriously.

  • Wow, that’s absolutely terrifying. In addition to being vegan, I’m 110% lactose intolerant and if a restaurant ever screwed up like that, I’d be sick as a dog. I try to stick with vegan restaurants or places where I can watch the food being made for that reason…

  • this sux real bad. i have eaten the banh mi there just last week. my mouth tasted like macdonalds all afternoon, and now i know why. ugh ugh ughu.

  • I’m not a vegan, but somebody sent me this post and I am taking my party of 10 elsewhere next week as we’re all Jewish (not Kosher) but have high standards for kitchens that respect their customers.

    Also, the menu hasn’t changed online: your dishes are still described as “vegan”.

    Very sad.

  • After reading your post I was going to comment that if you have a long history w/Mani’s perhaps you should forgive the new restaurants an indiscretion and once they are more settled give them a second chance. But after all the post about past issues at the Fairfax restaurant, I’m not so sure. I’m glad the manager admitted to the mistake, but whenever I encounter this problem I always think about how diligent they would be if I was telling them I had a nut allergy and they were worried I’d be rushed out of their in an ambulance. Whether a customer is vegan or vegetarian or have lactose/gluten issues, or if it’s a religious matter, they deserve that same respect and consideration. And if they don’t want to do it because it’s right, they should be smart and do it because it’s good business. Remember all the trouble the McDonalds lawsuit caused? Telling the truth is so much easier.

  • @leon: Cool, man! Always good to see some outside backup.

  • Do you guys really not trust Hugos? I ate there recently and got so sick for days…I assumed it was food poisoning but I’m highly lactose intolerant (and vegan) so now I’m scared maybe it wasn’t vegan which makes me ill all over again.

    Plus…isn’t it quite hard to get food poisoning when you’re vegan? Unless animal products are involved? And how can they really prepare everything seperately at places like Hugos and Manis?

  • Kate – you can easily get food poisoning from raw vegs. Remember the spinach and peanut scares?!
    Lettuce is often a culprit.

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    Unsettling. I wonder how many places have this kind of stuff going on 🙁

  • Those that say to only eat at pure Vegan restaurants should reference QG article “Operation Pancake”.


  • Screwdriver – you can trust vegan restaurants that are non Thai (most of the one that failed the test were Thai). Since Operation Pancake I did not step a foot in any vegan thai places. Anytime I go to any asian or mexican vegan restaurants, I avoid any food with mock meat, bread, or vegan cheeses. I stick to basic rustic food that I know what it is and how it should taste.
    The list of places to trust 100% are short but that is plenty of options to choose from. I think Native Food, Real Food Daily, Veggie Grill, Seed, M cafe, Fallow your Heart, Madeleine bistro, Golden Mean Vegan Cafe, Cru, Flore and more… are places to be fully trusted.

  • That’s racist, Nabil 😛

  • This is sad to hear. I have gotten sick many times but restaurants lying saying that the food is ‘Vegan’. I am highly allergic to milk products..so if any butter is used, I will become ill immediately. Most of these instances have come from non veg restaurants. From now on, I just stick with steamed veggies or a salad with vegan dressing just to be safe when eating at Meat Serving Restaurants

  • what!!! how is that racist? This have nothing to do with race, it’s a cultural understanding of vegan etiquette. Most of these Thai restaurants are in it for money. They continue to lie about what they are serving to vegans. And by the way Operation Pancake is not the first time to reveal the truth about these restaurants. Also remember That thai buddhist do eat meat including the monks too, so they really don’t get the same concept of what our veganism is. And from our experience we know well that most of people in these vegan Thai places are new arrivers and don’t speak english well, so I really don’t think they get what our vegan etiquette are.
    I’m middle eastern and and I can’t recommend people to eat falafel (even if it’s vegan) from any place. Most for Middle eastern restaurants that make falafel also makes shawarma too. The person who is making that vegan falafel sandwich, is wearing the same gloves that he or she used to stuff shawarma in the other sandwich. What I’m trying to say is that many other cultures (including our in here too) don’t take our way of life seriously and think we are a bunch of whack jobs (some of us are!) To me is, it much safer to go to a restaurants that is operated by our own kind, who truly understand our way of veganism serve food that be trusted.

  • @nabil: you should check out hummus king or yalla truck! both have GREAT falafel, and they don’t serve meat. 😀

  • Yes Yalla is the best vegan falafel to have in this town. And thank you so much for let us know about them.

  • oscar silverman

    If they go to the trouble of marking it with a V and having a key on the menu emphasizing the absence of animal products in these items, then they have committed fraud and there is an easily winnable class action suit against them here. Furthermore, they would clearly be in violation of California consumer laws as well. Someone who has eaten these items by mistake (I haven’t) should seek out a class action lawyer and file a suit. A class action lawyer would take the case because no doubt this would get attention in the LA Times and elsewhere. Plus, and most importantly, it would hopefully frighten other restaurants into being honest about their vegan offerings. In the recession everyone is trying to draw – and hold – customers and so they are advised by restaurant consultants to offer vegan and vegetarian items. Some are downright evil about lying and others simply don’t give a shit, which is almost as bad.

  • brioche=cunt

  • “this would get attention in the LA Times and elsewhere.”

    I highly highly doubt that. Let’s not get too full of ourselves.

  • You’re digging a deeper hole for yourself, Nabil. It sounds like you’re saying that only caucasian businesses understand what “vegan” means, so we should only go to the whitebread restaurants that you listed. o_O

  • After reading Nabil’s comments, I fail to see any semblance to bigotry.

    Also, I am thinking I might start referring to myself as a “Strict Vegetarian”. Less stress when some asshat fucks up my food.

  • Well they happen to be white, I did not see it this way you did. I also said more which would include: vegan village, Rahel, Franken’s, Shojin, Yalla… I just listed the most popular. And yes most of vegan businesses are owned by white (other then the thai places)
    When I said “including ours in here too”, I meant all american with all it’s color. Did you just read what I been saying about Mani’s, Hogs and Swingers !!!

  • the words “our own kind” always frighten me. no matter what group of people your talking about.

  • Just a little note on Thai Buddhists from someone who knows about this. Most are not vegan or veggie, they take alms in whatever form they can get. That’s the Thai way! But the oldest sects are vegan and have been for hundreds of years. I agree many older Thai’s do not understand veganism, but I also know from my extensive travels in Thailand that vegan food is becoming very popular. The places you call Thai in LA etc are nothing to do with Thai food. Peas and love peeps.

  • aaaaa… Why? I’m sorry Trishells, didn’t you realize being a vegan make you different then the majority of people around you and automatically puts you in minority!!! Only if you are vegan for trend or health reasons then it’s a whole different story.
    Say it the way it is, no sugar coating
    politically correctness = hypocrisy.

  • Praise the person that eats vegan once a week…..hug the person that eats vegan seven days.

  • Fuck that, and FUCK EVERYONE who has a problem with Nabil spitting truth. He is absolutely 100% correct, the truth always arouses this type of conflict hypocrisy.i am dissapointed that some vegans still choose to be blinded, despite the dietary and complete lifestyle revelation they had that made them vegan.Nabil has every right to simply mention the tendencies,values, and even malpractices associated with a particular culture.anyone coming at him is on some politically correct bullshit, and they need to get clean.To attack his words, is to deny CULTURE.

  • yeah! also, fuck everyone who isn’t one of our own kind!

  • At the end of the day, I think this article will have more negative impact than good on spreading veganism in LA. Cmon, it was clearly an honest mistake on Mani’s behalf and and we need to realize this and give them a chance to correct it like they said they would.

    From the quote in this article it appears the GM explicitly said they would fix the problem.

    If other restaurants who are considering offering vegan options read this article and see what harsh fires restaurants that try are put under for even going in that direction, they’ll be scared away for fear of web persecution by ultra critical blog posts like this.

    I think that, as vegans, we should encourage restaurants to correct these mistakes instead of blasting them.

    Everyone makes mistakes and as a community we should help each other become better rather than throwing stones and creating nastiness.

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    Interesting discussion, I appreciate everyone sharing their views without holding back. (Passionate arguments are much cooler to read and more engaging than dry emotionless ones.)

    While I think it’s understandable to be quite upset over fraudulent/inaccurate menu claims, I’m also finding my more rational mind partly agreeing with the post above by Mike. There is the issue of unintentionally alienating non-vegan establishments (and non-vegan people in general.) Which is something to consider and perhaps avoid if possible.

    Encouraging places to fix stuff seems like it might be slightly more effective in the long run. A bit more Martin Luther than Malcolm X in terms of approach. Focusing on the positive and all.

  • While I can understand the frustration that many people on this board may be feeling.

    Mani’s does make a genuine effort to provide tasty food and catering to carnivores, vegetarians, and vegans alike.

    It was an honest mistake – they went from operating from a tiny hold on Farifax for many years into a beautiful location in the heart of beverly hills. They must have been doing something right all these years.

    Behind every business restaurant or other there are people and people by nature are not perfect. I am certain that this experience will make Mani’s better and even more conscious toward those with alternate eating habits.

    My wife and I ate there a few weeks back and my wife whom is 3 months pregnant has serious food aversions. The night we went there was fixed menu and yet they were able to cook somehting completely off the beaten bath that was completely dairy and meat free. While I cannot be certain that the dish was vegan nor was it supposed to be. The point was that Manis and the kitchen took great concern to make a dish addressing all of her concerns in question and this was executed with perfection.

    I think that the vegans on the board should give Mani’s a second chance as I certain this will not occur in the future.

  • @josh: do you work at mani’s?

  • @Josh: Thinly disguised trolling and pimping manis here. I bet you work there.

  • Aww, c’mon, guys! They just moved, they’re really disorganized. The full bakery is not back yet, but the vegan chocolate chip cookies are still vegan (had some last week). They’ll come back, I have faith. Don’t make such a final judgment on the basis of one visit. Try again in another month, the old reliable Mani’s will be back.

  • Dear Quarrygirl:
    I would very much like to discuss this with you. I understand your concerns and disappointment with your experience here. However you’re not just some blogger… We’ve had a great relationship previously. Please call me.
    with great sincerity,
    Larry Maiman

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    No idea for sure of course, but I hope restaurant staff and management are not posting anonymously on here in transparent and obvious spin-doctor attempts at damage control. That never works from I’ve seen (I’ve only been on this blog as a commenter for about ten months or so though.)

  • oscar silverman

    Gregalor: “Let’s not get too full of ourselves”? I think you just broke your own rule.

    I’m not the one going around making serious accusations that other people are racists. But I guess you are the perfect all-knowing genius.

    You don’t think a class action suit by all vegans and/or vegetarians who have been served animal products by a restaurant that very clearly spells out on the menu that those items are vegan would get attention from the hometown newspaper in the city stereotyped as the health food capital of the country? Do you even know what a class action lawsuit is? Look it up; it’s on Wikipedia.

    Oh, and if you don’t want everyone who reads this blog to know how full of yourself you are, then change your photo. Good lord.

  • oscar silverman

    Don’t know if it’s true or not but clearly this person found Mani’s to be so dishonest that they made this website:


    To those apologists who are defending Mani’s and saying it was a good faith accident, that seems unlikely. I never worked in a bakery, I don’t even bake, but it’s pretty common knowledge that glazed shiny breads, such as challah for example, are coated with egg.

    The menu there has clear labeling and extensive descriptions of what’s vegan. You’re telling me the chef there and all the other bakery employees had no idea they were serving those breads and rolls to vegans?

  • WOW. Thanks Oscar for sharing the link. It looks like they are dishonest about everything.
    It’s our responsibility as vegans to do our full homework about all these “vegan Friendly” place. We can’t just blame shady business for cheating us, after all they want to make money. I believe vegan restaurants should be supported first (excluding Thai) before we even give these meat serving vegan friendly restaurants more chances. They still got their regular customers while other truly vegan restaurants are losing business.
    We also as vegan need to learn how to use our tasting senses to test food if it vegan or not. I been baking and cooking for the last 17 years, when I first became vegan. In those day we did not have all these options to choose from and I had to make almost everything. I taught myself to figure out the ingredients by taste, smell and the look and texture of everything I put in my mouth. I think as a vegan we all need to learn to do that. So next time you served a food with animals driven ingredients, you would know it before you eat it.

  • Oscar Silverman you make some compelling points.what Mani’s does is HELLA ILLEGAL and they’re setting their own scene for a grade a class action lawsuit.though my hobby is not litigation, any other vegan with the means to file suit gets my (meaningless) blessing! the world is fucked.i can’t spell.

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    The last two sentences of the above post unexpectedly made me laugh!! On a grey and cloudy Monday too. Thanks 😀

  • Well they sure do cook a mean fillet mignon!!!

    Seriously though, many of you all sound like crazy fanatical right wing christians thumping your bible…

    Just food for thought (vegan, vegetarian, or any other).

  • Sheila Gershwin

    Dear vegans, I can’t believe that all this chattering and foul-mouthing Mani’s is happening. They have a 21 year blemish-free history of filling the gap between vegetarian, vegan and non-vegan consumers. Since they just moved to a very large and beautiful restaurant and they have a very big new staff, most of whom are not yet educated in the “vegan” atmosphere, they deserve more than this execution-style conversation. Mani’s has always served delicious & health concious food and will now and in the future continue to do so. Let’s give them the chance they have earned to proof that this mistake will not happen in the future. Amen.

  • oscar silverman

    Sheila, did Mani’s ask you to post that?

    What did you not understand about what Mani’s has done? I’ll type slowly:

    They have a big “key” on their menu explaining their categories. The categories offer assurances and promise the absence of certain ingredients. The entire staff could easily see and know that these so-called vegan items contained animal ingredients, yet they didn’t care. QG had to ask FOUR times. Why? Maybe because the staffers are disdainful of vegans, maybe because they just don’t care, maybe because they’re told to lie for extra profits.

    Is there any difference here between what Mani’s did and a restaurant who’s menu says an item is Kosher or Halal actually serving that customer pork? I don’t think so.

    Eat what you want Sheila, I don’t care, but for the people who are concerned with the welfare of animals, and have seen the videos on youtube showing the cruelty of factory farming and the torturing of animals that can happen in that system — did you know that conscious animals are sometimes skinned alive? The industry’s own Temple Grandin has written about this — for those who have made the decision to forego meat, can’t you understand why they’d be upset to be lied to, intentionally, about this?

    It’s really quite simple, if the GENERAL MANAGER of Mani’s said that these items contained butter and eggs, do you really think this general manager just learned this that moment? No way. He knew all along and went along with the scam that was being perpetrated. He knew these items were marked Vegan on the menu. He is the GENERAL MANAGER for crying out loud. This isn’t a case of a server making a mistake about the ingredients, THE MENU HAS IT WRONG. The menu tries to offer “vegan” items to make money off vegans, and yet the general manager knows this not to be the case.

    This is disgraceful. I am writing a lengthy letter about this to both the LA County District Attorney’s office as well as the LA County Department of Public Health. I’m sure the Department of Public Health inspectors will realize that if Mani’s blatantly lies about this to make a buck, that there are other areas where they may be cutting corners too.

    An honest mistake is an honest mistake and is understandable. This is not that.

  • oscar silverman


    You are not wrong. There are extremists in all areas of life. In fact, it is pretty extremist of you to compare people who are making a sacrifice in the name of animal cruelty to “Bible thumpers” since I’m assuming you don’t mean this as a compliment.

    Are you against the torturing of cats and dogs? I would hope so. So please don’t slam people who also think it’s wrong to torture cows and chickens and pigs.

    Thanks, and have a great day!

  • For the record, I went to Mani’s today and the menu was the same. Burgers were advertised as vegan and served on brioche. I saw it with my own eyes.

  • @Sheila Gershwin

    Thanks for your comment. I’d like to draw attention to one part in particular: “I can’t believe that all this chattering and foul-mouthing Mani’s is happening.”

    As a strict vegan for the better part of a decade, I can assure you that my mouth tasted foul all afternoon from eating at Manis. Eating butter and egg after years of not doing so (or doing so unknowingly in trace amounts) is a really horrible experience.

  • this discussion is getting out of hand. i sympathize with both sides. i want my food to be actually vegan. i’d be pissed if people lied about it. but face the facts: unless you grow and prepare the food yourself you will never truly know if it’s vegan. i’m sure a majority of the processed grocery and restaurant items available to vegans have some amount of non-vegan ingredients.
    FREAKING OUT like you all are doing does give veganism a bad rap – you need to seek some medium between being concerned with what’s in your food and an alienating, extremist attitude.
    What’s really important here is that the manager seemed sorry and concerned, and will hopefully fix this mess.

  • Sheila Gershwin

    I apoligize if I offended, but I still think that they deserve an opportunity to make this right. It is my understanding that the General Manager is new to Mani’s and I hope that the changes they need to make will happen.

  • @Sheila Gershwin

    Please can you explain ” It is my understanding that the General Manager is new to Mani’s”

    Are you connected to the business somehow? An inquisitive customer?

    Of course, Manis will have another chance. This will blow over and vegans will go there again. Indeed, a vegan friend dined there today. He ate the sliders. With brioche. And nobody told him that they were not vegan.

    If there’s anybody from Manis who can speak with authority, please jump into the comments. We’d all love to know what’s up, and what you’ve done about it.

  • oscar silverman


    I find YOUR attitude to be alienating and extremist. It is extreme in its apologism for Mani’s, and it’s alienating in its mamby-pambyness.

    You say you’d be pissed if someone lied… yet they did and you’re not. Huh?

    If another vegan ate there today and was served this non-vegan food, as Mr. Meaner says above, even after the general manager openly admitted yesterday that it’s not really vegan, isn’t that a problem?

    Does that really sound sorry and concerned? Sounds more to me like DOESN’T GIVE A SHIT.

    If the GM cared, wouldn’t he post a note to the staff letting them know not to let anyone order that if they’re vegan?

    I don’t think it’s “FREAKING OUT” for someone to get pissed off at being intentionally deceived. In fact, what I think is that you are now the third or fourth person that Mani’s has asked to post here.

    In fact, you’re probably even the SAME PERSON posting four or five times using different names. Because each post suspiciously seems to know more than a non-Mani’s staffer could know.

    Maybe instead of a note left for the staff asking them to let people know the food isn’t really vegan, there was a note left to the staff asking them to post pro-Mani’s comments on this blog.

    Note to whoever’s behind all this pro-Mani’s trolling: the easy way to fix this problem before it reaches the LA Times and the LA Weekly is to FIX THE PROBLEM. Find some vegan bread – it ain’t hard to find.

  • As I’m reading this, my belly is full of a tasty home-cooked vegan meal, my two (also vegan) canine members of my family are in my lap and I’m so grateful that with nearly 17 years as a vegan and a fair bit of cookery skills, I can decline to patronize any of these omni restaurants.

  • Oscar,
    Realizing that there are multiple ways to look at the situation is the opposite of alienating and extremist. You are throwing out disrespectful accusations that no one appreciates. It doesn’t hurt to be civil.

  • What an awesome comment war, it’s been a while since QG had a good one going on.

  • ***DANGER*** Thread hijack….


    Forcing a canine to eat vegan…..isn’t that un-veganlike? It’s like keeping a chicken in a cage to plop out some eggs….Just another example of humans forcing animals to do our bidding. Dog acts happy…..but does it have a choice?

  • Lawl. Canines are omnivores, not obligate carnivores like felines are. If you want a really great vegan comment battle, let’s talk vegan cats. Or better yet, the ethics of honey.


  • I stopped eating at hugos about 4 years ago after a second unacceptable experience being served “vegan” food. Just like greenleaves, these places don’t change and they don’t die, because in reality they don’t care.

    There are no mistakes here. Mani’s never had a vegan option yet the menu and diners prove different. This is 2010, not 1995. The word vegan isn’t full of mysticism, and for fuck’s sake with such a high unemployment rate you would think you could hire servers with brains or at least fucking train them and give them some standards to follow. They don’t even know the menu they are serving! Fuck, every employee at in n out can probably tell you the most intricate detail about their menu and these slobs at mani’s just lie through their teeth. Or maybe they are illiterate :/

    In the restaurant business this is fraud, it is blatant, unapologetic (they are still serving it aren’t they) and they can go to hell. Scum.

  • Since Larry Maiman posted in the comments have you guys talked to him? I’m not really interested in arguing but we should at least hear his side of the story.

  • @miharu

    Yes Canines are omni, but people force them to be vegan to satisfy their selfishness. If you are going to keep a pet, feed it it’s natural diet…but imposing your dietary lifestyle on an unwilling animal is cruel.

  • @Nick

    I didn’t talk to Larry Maiman again. We did have a conversation with him and his GM when we visited the restaurant, and what was said is pretty well represented in the post.

    I’m sure things will eventually be fixed, but the point here is that this was a systemic failure from top to bottom and really is inexcusable.

  • @screwdriver: I would bother to come up with a retort to point out the laughable flaws of your post, except I grew bored with that exact poorly thought-out and unoriginal anti-vegan comment last century.

  • @moore

    So you decided to reply with that dribble? Now that is laughable.

  • Hello all,

    We would like to directly address the comments on this article on behalf of Mäni’s on Maple.

    Firstly, we would like to make clear that, contrary to what has been suggested through some of the comments on this article, we take our commitment to vegan selection very seriously. In creating new menu items over time, we have considered and appreciated our longstanding customers’ requests for vegan items, knowing and understanding fully what the term “vegan” encompasses. We are not subscribing to a fad, nor are we trying to sneak non-vegan items onto our customers’ plates for the sake of profit. The menu we have designed and re-tooled over time reflects our dedication to not only our vegan customers, but to the vegan cause, which we support fully and personally.

    Collectively, as a team, we are horrified, embarrassed, and ashamed that this mistake made its way to any customer’s plate. It was, simply put, just this: a huge, glaring, catastrophic mistake. It was the result of several miscommunications on our end, and we are completely devastated by it.

    Please know that immediate action was taken, well before this article was published and while you were still in the restaurant. Our Grain/Nut sliders are now served on vegan whole wheat buns unless specifically requested otherwise by the customer. The Bahn Mi is vegan unless the customer requests a non-vegan bread (customers have their choice of breads, all of which are absolutely vegan except for the brioche and the jalapeno-cheddar). Our management team had direct communication and took appropriate action with every single member of our staff, both front and back of the house, to make sure that this never happens again. We are completely mortified and saddened, and have taken every step possible to ensure that every single item we list as vegan on our menu is undoubtedly and unerringly prepared as such.

    Again, we would like to reiterate our most sincere apology, although we know that your feelings require much more than that. If you would give us the chance, we’d love to see you again. If you’d like to discuss the matter directly, either of us are available to you at any time.

    The damage that this error has caused us is immeasurable, and we are truly and deeply saddened to have lost the trust of our vegan customers. We hope that you’ll be able to find consolation in the fact that we addressed the mistake swiftly and entirely. It is our hope that you can find a way to forgive us.

    Christopher Hopgood, General Manager
    and Larry Maiman, President
    Mäni’s on Maple

  • Well considering they could have just NOT said anything or still tried to maneuver their way around the issue (like some of those Operation Pancake places), I think they are definitely taking a good first step.

  • Eleahoo Joobavich

    meh, not too worked up over this.

  • nice to see they took responsibility, as long as i don’t see green leaves antics, i’m good to go.

  • Wow. I, for one, really appreciate that note. Bravo to Mani’s for being so upfront.

  • The only place you can have truly vegan food is in your own home. When I go to a restaurant, vegan, vegetarian, or omni that offers veg, I assume some cross-contamination is happening, and I accept that. If you can’t deal with that, don’t eat out. Hugo’s have been very acommodating to us, my wife even requests a vegan server, which they sometimes have, and then asks to have her food cooked separately, which they did (supposedly). When you eat at a restaurant you also assumed everyone washed their hands, and I can tell you in LA, that probably should be the biggest concern.
    I guess my point is if you eat outside of your home, there are many risks, and you have to decide what your acceptance level is. Some processed food companies have an acceptable level of rat poop in their products, which for some insane meat eaters is apparently acceptable!

  • Sometimes getting caught and heavily exposed for lying is the only way to change a wrong-doer.

  • It is a welcome response but this incident really shows us all that when you go to a non veg place asking even three times might not be enough. I’m still bewildered that the server was so ignorant to the menu or couldn’t determine by checking w the kitchen about the ingredients. In this business you need to know this stuff. No excuses. Lots of people w allergies eat vegan a good friend carries an epi pen in her purse. A bite of that bread and she would be on your restaurant floor with a needle in her chest. No joking.

    I have mixed feelings about this incident. The response is to be applauded, but does still not reassure me, yet.

  • Scott the haiku man

    Hi Schramm. I miss you.
    I’ve never been to mani’s
    and I never will.

  • I think your review was very unfair. But with all the name dropping I guess you are a very important person.

  • @steven – I’m not remotely important. A complete unknown. Like a rolling stone.

  • Taking the responsibility and apologizing is a good start. At least I respect the fact that you are the first restaurant to really confront this issue unlike the others. I think a lot of your customers will forgive you but I’m not sure if they will forget. It will be long process to restore the trust. In the end, a positive action is always encouraged.
    I personally, think this issue is hard to fix in restaurants that are not vegan. And every time vegans choose to eat in non vegan restaurant, should expect that their meal can never be fully vegan.

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    It’s cool of them to leave a note here and address this incident directly. It’s much appreciated and makes me feel a bit more confident about stopping by their establishment in the future.

  • … that’s quite an apology and I appreciate it. I liked the original Mani’s and would consider checking the new location out.

  • i stopped eating at mani’s after i got salmonella poisoning PROBABLY from eating there.

  • This is completely ridiculous. Mani’s has some great vegan dishes and an outstanding vegan bakery. What happened is a terrible, horrible, completely unfortunate thing…that happens to me all the time…in a lot of places.

    I’m sorry to offend those of you who prefer to toil in your anger than be an agent of change. There is no evil Mani’s conspiracy against us. They’re not trying to cash in, and they do give a shit what they serve, at least in my experience. Running a restaurant, and working in one, for those who never have, is chaos. Mistakes happen constantly in even the best of restaurants and the difference between ones worth supporting and ones worth ditching are their attitudes in the face of these mistakes.

    I was given cod cakes by accident at Cobras & Matadors. I couldn’t sleep and felt sick all night. But they were extremely apologetic, and I went back. When they screwed up again, and the waitress was completely unapologetic, I never returned.

    Malo has on several occasions put cheese in my vegan ground beef/pickle tacos (which are normally served vegetarian). So I’ve learned to open them first, send them back, and speak to the waitstaff about it. It’s almost always a miscommunication between the kitchen, the food runners, and the waitstaff, and everyone has always been extremely apologetic. And so I choose to go back.

    Breadbar served my vegan soup with cheddar bread. Waitress’s response was essentially “oops” despite me telling her how upsetting this is and how they should make sure to carefully choose what breads are being served with their vegan dishes. Haven’t gone back.

    Samosa House, voted one of LA’s top vegetarian restaurants on this blog, put butter on my vegan Roti. When I thought it looked strange to see a melted buttery substance usually found on Naan, I went back and said this is vegan right? The cashier nodded but wasn’t convincing. I bit into it…butter. I haven’t gone back. Maybe I will, and maybe it was a fluke. Maybe it wasn’t.

    The point is, this happens EVERYWHERE. Little mistakes and big ones. As many people mentioned, when you eat out, you run the risk of mistakes happening – orders being messed up, bugs in your salad, employees with less than perfect hygiene. And you have to pick and choose where you feel comfortable eating with that knowledge in mind. But if you think that this is specific to Mani’s, and choose to encourage a boycott to a restaurant that has served the vegan community when countless local restaurants didn’t, you are doing yourself and your community a disservice.

    If you’re aware of all the cruelty that animals face to get that brioche bread made, then instead of swearing off restaurants like Mani’s that take immediate steps to address a problem that occurred (during a major transition no less), you can speak with them about ways to ensure this won’t happen again if they hope to continue to earn your patronage. For every one vegan who very unfortunately and mistakenly receives a non-vegan item at a place like Mani’s, which serves the omnivorous community, I’m quite sure there are about 1000 non-vegans who chose to have a vegan cookie or wrap at Mani’s, instead of a non-vegan one they might have chosen elsewhere.

    I’m choosing to support Mani’s in their new location, and support all vegan and vegan friendly restaurants that appreciate their vegan customers enough to take steps to ensure mistakes like this don’t happen again. You can continue being angry, or you can go get a delicious cookie. I recommend the latter.

  • oscar silverman

    Dstar, I’m not sure I completely agree with that but it is very well said. If those vegan sliders are usually served on vegan bread and the kitchen simply made a mistake, then you’re absolutely right. But if they have been serving it on what is obviously egg-coated bread all the time, then I’d have to think that it’s a situation where several staffers realized and chose not to rock the boat or didn’t want to bother going out of their way to get the situation rectified. At some point it becomes Kitty Genovese, right?

  • I workd in manis for A couple of years and we moved to beverly hills and last week I got fired because manis has alot of fuckin problems.so pleas dont eat in manis on maple all the bread is not vegan because I worked as a baker so pleas dont eat at that SHIT WHOLE!

  • I’ve been buying Mani’s vegan chocolate dipped chip cookies for years but have noticed since they moved to their new location that the taste and appearance is dramatically different. Are these cookies no longer vegan???

  • Hi Kathleen,
    Thanks for your continued patronage. Our chocolate chip cookies are still vegan! We actually tweaked the recipe slightly so that it contains a bit less organic palm shortening, which makes the cookies fluffier (and fewer in calories, to boot). Hope to see you again soon.
    Meredith @ Mäni’s

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