• chipotle to stop selling gardein at most LA locations :(

    January 10th, 2011quarrygirlchipotle, LA restaurants

    we will miss you, garden blend!

    this is sad news indeed! after a trial run period that lasted about 8 months, we’ve heard that chipotle has decided to pull the plug on gardein and stop offering the vegan garden blend option at most of its LA locations.

    following an email tip from a customer who spoke with a chipotle manager, i called around to several LA locations and asked about the garden blend. the response was pretty much the same across the board: most locations still have gardein on hand now, but they won’t be getting any more when their supply runs out. one manager talked to me at length and explained that the vegan product just wasn’t selling well enough, so corporate decided to pull it. according to this manager though, both the westlake village and woodland hills chipotle locations will continue to sell gardein. wut?? WESTLAKE VILLAGE and WOODLAND HILLS?! do those even count as los angeles? talk about the boonies!

    chipotle should have promoted the garden blend more, and been more careful about not cooking it with other meat. i think that if they would have done that, it would have really taken off. it’s sad to see it go, because i thought it was a really great product. oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

    at least we still have good old rice and bean burritos at chipotle! those will never get old? …i guess?

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60 responses to “chipotle to stop selling gardein at most LA locations :(” RSS icon

  • No offense. When I ate my first Chipotle burrito EVER, it was with the Gardein meat. The meat was dry and crunchy almost. It was not that good, so if that’s how it is everywhere, no wonder people weren’t buying it. It’s sad to have them get rid of the option because it could have been awesome if they did it right!!

    Fast food: doing it wrong forever.

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    Too bad! 🙁

  • Oh no! That is sad news. I agree Chipotle should have been more careful with the way it was prepared. I for one stopped eating it at the Burbank location when I saw the gardein slabs being cooked on the same grill right next to (and looked like touching) the chicken. Not only that, but the cook handled the gardein with the same nasty glove as he handled the chicken, and used the same cutting board! Right then I changed my order to a veggie fajita bowl. I was hoping that Chipotle would improve their cooking methods, not just get rid of it, however. Too bad that isn’t the case. 🙁

  • I had it once, and it wasn’t spectacular, but I attributed that to the store I went to and the middle-of-the-day, non-peak hour. But I love Gardein and Chipotle, so I’m sad this isn’t going to improve.

  • If they’d promoted it at ALL, it may have actually sold. Bummout.

  • I am really sad to see it go, but am also thankful that I’m one of those boonies residents that frequents the Woodland Hills location 😛 Now I feel the need to go order the garden blend more often to do my part to keep it there.

  • I used to love the veggie burrito at Chipotle until I ordered one and watched the employee drop carnitas into the formerly vegan black bean container. Now I only do to Chipotle on road trips when I don’t have any safer options.

  • I found Chipotle food inedible long before their little Gardein trial. Don’t know how they can make “Mexican” food that is so bland and lifeless even with a lot of salsa. I will eat it if desperate (on the road), but not seek it out.

  • honestly, the gardein was horrible. who needs processed fake meat when you can just load up on fresh fruits and vegetables???

  • fresh fruit in a burrito sounds kinda nasty.

  • How AWFUL! There is a new Chipotle in Hollywood, and I had been tempted to try it (don’t think I’ve ever eaten at a Chipotle before). Now I won’t bother. Veggie Grill is right on up the street anyway, thank goodness.

  • Fuuuuuuuuuck, I love(d) this thing!

    One thing that I attribute to its apparent lack of sales: IT WAS NEVER LISTED ON THE MENU.

    Every location I went to, the Garden Blend was just mentioned on a black-and-white printout taped up wherever.

  • I’m pretty sure I’m single-handedly responsible for Woodland Hills continuing to carry theirs. It’s right by my office and I get those tacos all the time.

  • I for one didn’t personally like the Gardein that Chipotle offered, but I am always keen to restaurants who try and give us vegan options. I must also say though, being the guac fiend I am, I may have been more supportive of the Gardein, however I didn’t wanna switch from the lovely Veg option which included Guac to the Gardein option which did not:o!

  • all i gotta say is: when tal ronnen finds out about this, he is gonna be PISSED. he’ll be crackin’ skullz!

  • this is fucking lame. garden blend ftw.

  • LMAO! Hell yeah. Tal is a metal head. He is gonna go for total BRUTALITY! \m/

    Maybe the employees rallied against this option. Lazy sonsofbitches didn’t want to cook it separately. I guess I’m just gonna have to hurry up and open my vegan Mexican restaurant. WE DEMAND (authentic) VEGAN TACOS.

  • I’m SO pissed about this!!! Grrr, Chipotle. Grrrr!!!

  • Aw..I’m a little sad. I was more excited to go with my omni boyfriend when I knew I could get something other than black beans. It is healtheir but its boring. O well.. ill jus support better restaurants like Veggie Grill 🙂

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    A totally vegan Mexican restaurant in LA? I’d be there every week!!

  • Oh no! This is such a bummer. I never had it because it has wheat, but I was really glad it was offered. Thanks for breaking the news as always. : )

  • OMG noooo!! We went there ALL THE TIME for this. And have spread so many nice things about Chipotle since I was so happy with them for being a front runner and supporting this. It really can’t be that hard for them to carry it and just order as much as they need. UGH.

  • Hugo’s Tacos isn’t totally vegan – but I really enjoy their vegan tacos & burritos. Choice of soy chorizo/potato filling or veggie herb filling….Daiya cheese upon request, great salsas.

    As for Chipotle….meh. Always found them kinda bland, and the one time I did try it w/ the Gardein it was a whole pain in the ass making sure it was cooked separately from the meat. A good experiment, but not executed very well. Honestly, for those vegans who like Chipotle, the veggie burrito without Gardein pretty much tastes the same.

  • I’m seriously mourning this loss. It feels like a defeat for veganism going mainstream. I 100% blame the lack of signage/advertising. You really had to be a hardcore vegan blog reader to know it was there. My brother and I live on Chipotle for our vegan Mexican fix, but I definitely can’t support them until they bring it back. So bummed.

  • A standard vegan Chipotle burrito will NEVER get old in my book, but I love your sadface pic.

  • While I don’t like the precedent of losing a vegan “meat” option, I wasn’t a big fan of the gardein. Much harder on my stomach than a normal Chipotle veggie burrito.

  • I heard THAT! Gardein, though delicious, was what finally got me to start avoiding gluten.

  • bell peppers (i know you hate them, but most of us don’t), tomatoes, and avocados are fruit!!!

  • extra rice, extra beans, extra veggies, mild salsa, corn, guac and lettuce in a bowl with a tortilla underneath. all good.

  • That totally sucks. Although, I have to admit I’m relieved because I am one of those people who frequents the locations in the boonies. I feel like my boyfriend and I may have eaten enough of those burritos at the Westlake Village location to keep them doing it. This is mainly because, in this area, our ONLY dining out options are chipotle, zpizza, or whole foods. We have to drive an hour or so to get to LA and have actual amazing vegan food, which sadly is not something we can do very often, so I’m grateful to have chipotle.

  • cinnamon in highland park is vegetarian and everything can be veganized.

  • I hear ya, Deerlet! Prior to moving to Hollywood, my partner and I lived in the Hermosa Beach, Torrance, and El Segundo boonies. In Hermosa Beach, there was ONE vegetarian restaurant, which was better than nothing, of course, but we got tired of having only one choice. In Torrance, there were NO vegetarian restaurants that we knew of; and there were NONE in El Segundo (this was well before Veggie Grill opened). So I don’t blame you at all for eating at Chipotle and Zpizza! I probably would still be eating a predominantly lacto-ovo diet had we not moved to our present apartment in Hollywood, where we have a number of excellent choices, and can even CALL OUT to have scrumptious vegan/vegetarian food DELIVERED! Hooray for Hollywood!

  • Several locations didn’t even have THAT. You’d have to look and ask.

  • This is a great point.

  • I found Cinnamon inedible. Also, Hugo’s is kind of hit or miss, but I do like it. The dog also enjoys their fries. That being said, 1st time I went, kid there didn’t know what was or wasn’t vegan or vegetarian, so I don’t know how much I really trust them, either.

  • I will still get my veggie burrito there, though. I think it’s still cool to support a place that at least attempts to be vegan friendly with no lard or chicken stock in their rice, beans, etc.

  • Jackfruit! Ha!

  • I was so excited when they offered it at the Marina location, but sad when I ordered it for the first (and only) time. It was totally over-cooked, dryed out and yuck. That might have something to do with why it didn’t last. Oh, well…

  • I don’t LOVE gardein but it’s nice to have extra options. At the Vine St. location there was absolutely no indication that they carried mock meat. The container of gardein was up on the counter near the beans and rice, but had I not been a reader of this blog I would’ve assumed it was real chicken. Really half-assed “trial”, Chipotle.

    @Melanie, I was able to bypass their no-added guac rule by ordering online!

  • Chipotle claims they care about animal rights from their marketing down to the writing on their drink cups, yet after a relatively small test with little to no promotion they pulled Garden Blend. I have a meat-eating friend who liked Garden Blend so much that he would get it every time he went to Chipotle, and I’m guessing there were plenty of others like him. Pulling Garden Blend will result in more animals being killed because many people like my friend who ate Garden Blend will go back to getting meat in their burritos. This is something that a company touting animal rights should care about.

    I’m disappointed Chipotle. Garden Blend probably would have seen stronger sales if you had actually added it to the menu and actually done a decent job promoting it. But the fact of the matter is that if you really cared about animal rights, it’d be worth carrying Garden Blend even if it isn’t a huge seller.

  • I’m with you- I love a Chipotle bean and rice burrito!

  • A corporation’s a corporation. You don’t impress shareholders by keeping something that doesn’t make money, whatever the reason. That’s just the reality of the situation. Expecting otherwise is just setting yourself up for the disappointment that you feel towards Chipotle?

    Am I bummed out? Yeah. Am I surprised. Hell no. I never really expect this stuff to last when big chains offer something like this. The McVeggie is gone, the BK Veggie used to be vegan (but switched to Morningstar Farms when they undoubtedly were offered a better deal), I’m sure I could think of more examples of defunct vegan tests at unlikely chains.

  • You could always get guac on the Garden Blend, it just costs extra. Guac is free on the plain vegetarian burrito. That took some getting used to. The first time I got the Garden Blend, I thought the employee must be new and just wrongly thought that guac costs extra but then it turned out to be true.

  • Hey, at least you guys got to TRY it.

    I’ve been bugging them about their limited area testing” for a year now… Guess we’ll never see this in a Las Vegas Chipolte. 🙁

    What about the other cities where they were trying it? Gone as well?

  • They’re now testing vegan posole at Chicago locations. It’ll probably meet the same fate. They’re already spinning it that you can “garnish” it with chicken or a combination of meat, rice, and chips at an additional cost.

  • If you order a veggie item online it automatically adds guac. Then in the comments area write “add Garden Blend.” Viola, $6.31 with tax, “free” guac. They wouldn’t do it in person but someone they let it slip on online orders. But I guess this is a moot point now.

  • SOMEHOW they let it slip…sorry.

  • Chipotle and the people who run it don’t care about animals, except as commodities. They didn’t care before they offered gardein, they didn’t care when they were offering gardein, and they don’t care now. In Los Angeles, there’s probably a 100% vegan restaurant within 5 miles of any Chipotle’s. Go there instead. Bring non-vegan friends.

  • Sure, RFD can make me a burrito the size of a Chipotle one… for $15 plus tax and tip.

  • Yeah, but where else can you find such cramped seating?! Doesn’t that count for something? ; )

  • Well that’s a bummer! not because it was such a great meal or anythin,. it was decent but most importantly filling for a hungry vegan, but just that it makes finding a vegan meal on the go at a nearby location even more difficult. but vegan joints are popping up more and more so that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

  • NOOOOOOO!!!! I can tell you why it’s a failed experiment, they did NO MARKETING!!!! You had to find out thru vegan bloggers that it even existed! There were no signs or anything when I went to 4 different LA locations.
    One of my 2 regular Chipotles has now stopped carrying it: Los Angeles 110 S. Fairfax.
    I wrote a letter of complaint to Chipotle. It’s not fair that they are discontinuing it since they never gave it a real chance in the first place 🙁

  • p.s. I bet I’m the one keeping the Woodland Hills Gardein going, I frikin eat there all the time since it’s near my work.

  • I am a regular at the Westwood Chipotle (usually 4x a week for lunch) and was really disappointed to see it go. The managers know me there and they gave me a free veggie bowl the first day it was gone. A few days ago I emailed Chipotle customer service to complain and was told the same thing about it not selling well enough. She did say they were looking into more meatless options.

    Have to admit though, the guacamole is actually more filling than the gardein was. If they replace the gardein with something else I hope it’s heartier. Soyrizo, maybe?

  • Well that just plain ol just sucks for you I guess. As for me I guess I’ll keep going to Woodland Hills location for my fix :)’. That is until it peters out there.
    There is always The Yard House. They have Gardein options there as well. Although I don’t know about the alcohol.

  • It is stupid how they never advertised it nor had it on their menu. The worst part was when I went into a few stores right at opening and they were preparing the Garden Blend when I asked for it… the cooks were clueless, they would throw it all on the SAME GRILL after just cooking mean, chop it on the same cutting board with the same gloves. Unbelievable… I was wondering before why I still got sick after eating a vegan option and that sealed it. They have no idea about contamination nor do they seem to care about anything except profits.

  • “nor do they seem to care about anything except profits.”

    That’s all any corporation cares about. To assume otherwise is naive. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment.

  • I love Gardein products generally and I love Chipotle also. However, the one time I ordered a burrito bowl with the garden blend (which wasn’t advertised at all), it wasn’t good at all. It was hard, crunchy and had a very odd taste to it. In fact, i scraped it off the bowl before I finished the rest of it. It seems other people experienced the same thing. That’s probably why it wasn’t selling at all. Sad.

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