• UPDATED 2/01/11: epic vegan pizza from bj’s brewhouse

    January 28th, 2011quarrygirlbj's brewhouse, LA restaurants

    UPDATED 2/01/11: we tracked down the makers of the buttery “phase oil” that bj’s uses on their pizza, and the stuff is 100% vegan! we are good to go. as long as you order your pizza w/o cheese, you should be safe.

    UPDATED 01/28/2011: HUGE UPDATE, people! mr. wishbone got on the case and found out some new info. you need to SPECIFY THAT YOU ARE VEGAN when you order this pizza and ask for it NOT to be brushed with butter. the pizza crust comes butter brushed by default, but BJ’s can sub olive oil instead. so be careful!

    we’ve blogged about cheeseless vegan pizza at restaurant chains—from cpk here at home, to pizza express across the pond—and i can say without a doubt that the deep dish at bj’s brewhouse takes it to a whole new level. they’ve got locations scattered all over the country, so even if you live in a town where pizzerias don’t carry vegan cheese, you can still celebrate vegan pizza day at bj’s!

    we have been going to bj’s for ages just to drink (did i mention they also brew amazing vegan-friendly beer on site?), but never thought to ask about food options until recently when we attended a celebration there for my mom’s 65th birthday. i emailed the restaurant in advance to suss out the vegan situation, and a very nice man named david got back to me with a handy allergen PDF. he also assured me that both the normal crust and gluten-free crust, as well as the sauce at bj’s contain no animal products…so we should be safe ordering cheeseless pizza. and that’s exactly what we did.

    we went with build your own option, and chose a cheeseless deep dish with mushrooms and tomatoes. oh my, it was absolutely heavenly. the crust was so thick and moist, it was more like a pizza and cake combined. the sauce was fantastic as well—rich with a slightly sweet flavor.

    seriously, we ate slice after fluffy slice of this wonderful stuff and just couldn’t get enough. i can’t believe all those years i was drinking at bj’s and missing out on the insane vegan pizza. i’m REALLY hoping that bj’s starts carrying vegan cheese someday, because if they did, this would surely be the best vegan pizza in the world. ever.

    seriously, check this stuff out as soon as you can. it goes down nicely with a pint of piranha pale or harvest hefe. you won’t be sorry!

    check out bj’s website for locations!

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30 responses to “UPDATED 2/01/11: epic vegan pizza from bj’s brewhouse” RSS icon

  • That sure looks luscious! And it’s great that they offer a gluten-free vegan crust!

  • I ordered a cheeseless pizza at BJ’s once and they were DICKS about it. The server actually told me (with a chuckle) the kitchen staff said “whoever ordered this should just leave.” First, what jerks would say that, and the server was an idiot for telling me they said that and thinking he was funny. Haha, I was not laughing.
    Second time I tried ordering a calzone and said no cheese, so it arrived without mozzarella but full of veggies, sauce, and PARMESAN. Guess what? Parmesan is cheese, genuises.
    So, vegans beware. I don’t think we deserve to be mocked when paying good money (and this place is not cheap).

  • I went there once and asked if I could substitute a topping for the cheese and the waitress said no. So I left. Love their beer though!

  • How awful! Glad we have Pizza Fusion here in Hollywood, which is, by the way, another restaurant that DELIVERS! : )

  • Yes I do love their beer. The Brea location hosts some awesome beer appreciation nights, I tried 13 beers for $20. So I support their brews but eat before going.

  • bj’s is one of the few things i found awesome when i served my 4 years in awesometown. (it was a while back when there were fewer options up there)

  • sad to hear some people had problems ordering cheeseless pizza! they were super nice and accommodating when we asked!

  • I never heard of them, but it turns out they have restaurant right in my city!

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    It looks good.

  • Kristina Bobina

    Fuckin’ A! So excited! Haven’t been here in ages!

  • Technical details:
    Their butter/olive oil mixture is called “Savory Oil” or “Phase Oil” in their cooking instructions for the chefs.

    Tell your server you don’t want “Savory Oil” or “Phase Oil” just plain olive oil in the pan and brushed on the pizza.

    Mr. W

  • you da best.

  • Warning***
    They brush the plan with butter at MESA ECHO PARK unless you request they do it with oil.

  • masa has told me that all pizzas ordered w/o cheese or w/ vegan cheese are brushed with oil rather than butter. BUT, it’s still always great to check!

  • My family of omnivores LOVE BJ’s, so I eat there with them quite often. I have been to several locations around SoCal, including ones that are in areas where there really aren’t any vegan options to speak of. They have always been extremely nice, friendly, understanding and courteous about making a cheeseless veggie pizza for me. I always go all out on the veggies and from what my servers have told me in the past, the cooks have fun making up something different. It always delicious, every time. Sometimes they even give me broccoli and corn and all kinds of cool veggies that aren’t listed as pizza toppings.

    Also, when I first inquired about their dough ingredients, they sent the manager out to speak with me personally and I was assured that the dough is vegan sans butter brushing. Again, very kind, courteous and understanding.

    My meat eating Dad also loves the vegan pizza, which he calls “veggie bread”.

    Plus they have great beer!

    For those of you who have had a rough experience, give them another chance. Maybe it was an off day or something.

    For a chain restaurant, BJ’s gets an A+ from this vegan. 🙂

  • OMG!!! I think I am teary eyed 🙁 This was hands down my fav pizza ever before becoming vegan. yay!

  • OMG! I have worked for BJ’s for over two years and I never imagined I would find them on your site (which I read religiously).

    Anyways, I never even thought to eat a cheeseless pizza @ my place of employment, because the crust is so biscuit-y I assumed there had to be milk or eggs in it! Amazing. I guess I was wrong. Anyways, about the phase oil, I would check into this again because I am quite sure that they not only brush the top of the pizza with it, but the pan is coated in it before the dough is placed in it. This is unavoidable because all of the crusts are pre-made and the dough is set to rise overnight in its designated pan, and when ordered the cheese and toppings are added and the pie is baked. They also add the bit of pizza sauce to the dough before it sets overnight, and if somebody needs a pizza with absolutely no sauce it must be ordered a day in advance, so I would assume it can be done with the oil inside the pan when ordered in advance. Just don’t wait until you are in the restaurant because all of the pizza crusts have been sitting in buttery pans all night.

    I know the managers have the best of intentions, but I don’t think they are used to vegan food so a little detail like this may have slipped their mind. I always have wished they would make their menu more vegan friendly because eating there is quite difficult without being creative. They are incredibly meticulous about gluten-free, though, which is great for a lot of people. Many servers don’t know much about a vegan diet because BJ’s doesn’t necessarily draw vegans, which isn’t their fault. A lot of them come to me when they have a vegan at their table to ask me what they can eat.

    Anyways, if the pizza cannot be ordered in advance or made without phase oil coating the pan, I recommended the following:
    1. Teriyaki bowl, substitute avocado for the meat (I have reccomended this to fellow vegies who LOVED it)
    2. Spaghetti with marinara, no garlic bread
    3. Angel hair toscana, no feta cheese, no parmesan, no garlic bread.
    4. Cheeseless pizza on a gluten-free or flatbread crust, which is not pre-baked and can be made sans phase oil. You can order a mini veggie/byo pizza and substitute flatbread for no charge.

    And just a FYI, for those who will go after reading this, the minestrone soup uses a beef broth! I constantly have to ask people if they are vegan or vegetarian (when I notice they’ve also ordered an entree sans meat) and let them know not to order our minestrone soup. This should really be clearly marked on the menu, since most all people assume minestrone soup is vegetarian. I even spoke with another server recently who thought and told guests that the minestrone soup was the only vegetarian soup!! :O

    PS: I’m sorry if I sound like a downer QG, I’m not trying to be, I just know how meticulous you are about the ingredients in your food and thought some additional info might be helpful!

  • I would’ve said, “Okay”, got up, and left.

  • Heheheheheheheheh “BJs”

  • Not to mention at lunch their pints are $3.

  • hey everyone, be sure to read the update on this post!

  • I had this the other day with a bunch of veggies and it was delicious! Tho I don’t recommend it for everyday since my stomach hurt most of the next morning!

  • I’ve been ordering the cheeseless pizza at BJ’s for a while now, and they have always been good about it… but I suggest everyone do as I’ve done and write the main office with the link provided on their website. They need a reason to provide a cheese alternative such as Daiya, so we have to give it to them.

  • It’s great to know of some more options. Thanks, Torie 🙂

  • lol Gregalor. Couldn’t help yourself!

  • Hello. I work at BJ’s in Westwood and I am also vegan. I went through a very similar phase oil discovery and was happy when I finally found at that it is in fact vegan. It is marketed as a “butter substitute.”

    In addition to the great pizzas, BJ’s pastas are vegan (egg-free), so you can order any pasta (spaghetti, rotelle, fettucini, or angel-hair) with marinara and you’e good to go. I also like to add mushrooms and basil. You just need to make sure to specify that you do NOT want the bread that comes with it, which is covered in butter and cheese.

    Also, lately I’ve been getting the Santa Fe salad minus chicken, cheese, and dressing and adding garbanzo beans and black beans and getting some salsa on the side instead of dressing.


    PS. Our newest dessert is the baked beignet. It is made from the pizza dough brushed with phase oil and cinnamon and sugar. It is topped with fresh strawberries and a strawberry puree. If you get it without the ice cream or whipped cream, it is still excellent and vegan!

  • Checked out BJ’s in Burbank last night. Had no troubles ordering a cheeseless deep dish, but the results were really underwhelming. We ordered it with mushrooms, artichokes, fresh garlic and fresh basil. It was overcooked (even burnt in some places), there were very few mushrooms and artichokes on it (mostly tomato), and they forgot the basil completely. It wasn’t a total disaster, but I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way for it. Too bad.

  • Hi,
    I’m reading this blog and thinking “why did I think the pasta sauces were not vegetarian or vegan friendly”. I found an e-mail I sent to the BJ’s in Burbank, CA in 2006 and the manager at the time shared with me their pasta sauces and spinach artichoke dip (obviously not vegan), are made with Chicken broth. I stayed away from pasta’s since then. I’m getting ready to go to BJ’s this afternoon for lunch. I’ll check again.

  • What did you find out? I am thinking of going here this weekend…

  • Because of your post here, I went out with the family to BJ’s Brewery two nights ago for my husband’s birthday dinner at the Chino Hills, CA location. I am the only vegan, but my husband is vegetarian, and the rest of the family are omnivores.

    My meal ended up great, but I thought I’d include a comment here detailing my experience. 🙂

    When I ordered the deep dish pizza with no cheese, the waitress immediately told me, “Just so you know, our crusts aren’t vegan.” I told her that I had researched it prior to coming in, and I believed that they were. She told me that she thought they contained eggs and that she would go check. Anyway, the crust obviously doesn’t contain eggs (as evident by the allergen pamphlet), which she confirmed for me. She was unable to confirm that that the crusts don’t contain milk, as the allergen pamphlet doesn’t list any of the pizzas without cheese, and the crust is not listed on the pamphlet as a unique item. The manager also told her that he could not guarantee that the crusts were vegan, but because of the information in this post, I went for it. I also told her that even the phase oil was determined to be vegan, and it is actually a butter substitute.

    Although BJ’s staff possessed limited information regarding the ingredients of their food, I trusted your research here and went for it.

    Long story short – although I had to deal with a very confused staff, I enjoyed a delicious vegan deep dish pizza with artichoke hearts, garlic, roasted peppers, green peppers, mushrooms, and fresh basil. Yummy!

    Oh, and I also followed it up with a baked beignet without the whipped cream and ice cream, as recommended by Jamie in a comment above!

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