bad news for the cows and chickens out there: muma vegetarian (aka the blatant maoz knockoff) has recently changed their name and their menu. now known as simply “muma restaurant,” the small eatery offers more than just innocent falafel balls…they also have a selection of dead animal dishes to choose from.
….WHAT THE FUCK?!?! i guess we were right when we said we smelled trouble ahead for this shady establishment. it’s one thing for a vegetarian place to scale down hours or raise prices…but to actually start flesh peddling to stay in business?! not cool.
oh, and to add insult to injury, muma seem to be pretty stoked about their choice.Tags: melrose
“We don’t need to go looking for trouble, it comes looking for us…” – Oscar Wilde
Don’t you just hate it when you see something you like ripped off, and hard working people’s livelihoods threatened?
Back in 1991 two Israeli emgres, Nachman and Sima Milo, opened their very first Maoz restaurant in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. With a menu designed to be healthy, vegetarian, environmentally friendly, inexpensive and very tasty, the Milos quickly had a hit on their hands.
Now, Maoz has 22 restaurants globally. The outlets in London and Paris have a long line outside the door most days, and the Union Square outlet in Manhattan is often so crowded that it feels more like the subway station underneath than it does a modern eatery!
As we reported on Wednesday, we were delighted with the apparent opening of a Maoz franchise location here in LA called “Muma Vegetarian“. The similarity of menu, corporate branding, restaurant ambience and artwork implied to us that this was a Maoz location, only named differently because of its close proximity to Mao’s Kitchen, a popular (vegan-friendly) Chinese restaurant half a block away. Have a look for yourself and compare Muma’s menu with the menu from Maoz. Nearly identical.
Determined to see if there was a connection, we visited Muma again this weekend, posing as regular customers, and began to ask some questions. The conversation went something like this:
QG: “This place is great! Are you part of Maoz?”
Manager: “That’s the third time I’ve heard that today. Look, there are places like this on every corner in Israel, OK?”
QG: “We were wondering because this place is identical to Maoz, except for the name. Who owns the restaurant?”
Manager: “Err… it’s three people who own this restaurant.”
QG: “Would you be kind enough to give us contact details, we’d like to know if you’re part of Maoz and have plans for more openings?”
Manager: “I don’t know about Maoz, and what’s in it for me if I give you the ‘phone number of the owners?”
QG: “Well, there’s nothing in it for you personally, but I’m sure they’d like to talk to us about their future plans.”
Manager: “Why would I do that? Are you trying to sell me something?”
At that point the manager was getting very defensive and a little loud (he even stepped out from behind the counter and led us to a table where he sat down so that the conversation could not be heard by others in the restaurant). Fearing that he might ask us to leave, we said “OK, no problem – was just wondering if you were part of Maoz. That’s all.”.
Shortly after, we noticed the manager in the back room. He was glaring at us through a window in the door while engaged in an animated ‘phone call – we guessed it was with one of the three owners. Just as we were finishing up our meal he came from around the back of the counter and gave us a portion of pumpkin hummus and warm pita bread. He said: “Please accept this on the house. We make it here and call it Smashing Pumpkins.”. We wolfed down a few bites and left the restaurant right away.
As soon as we got home, we posted THIS COMMENT on the original post, and sent an email to Maoz corporate in NYC to enquire about the legitimacy of this outlet. Our comment sparked a few more in the same vain, and then this morning, we received the following response from the COO of Maoz USA:
“Thank you for your email. We have nothing to do with this restaurant. I was shocked to read your review and to find out that someone took advantage and copied the Maoz Vegetarian concept. By leveraging our brand values and look and feel they are creating confusion with our chain.”
We were, frankly shocked as well. Muma appears to be shamelessly copying Maoz in great detail.
From the look and feel of the food down to near-pixel perfect copies of their menu items, artwork and corporate identity.
While we were originally impressed with the food, we wonder why anybody would want to eat at a restaurant owned by people with such a lack of integrity that they would brazenly steal another company’s entire identity. If they are that shameless, we’re sure the quality of the food is also suspect.
Until Maoz deal with Muma (and we’re sure that there are plenty of intellectual property issues here that I’m sure lawyers would love to get their hands on), we’d advise potential customers to stay away. After all, we can’t support such acts now, can we?
muma vegetarianTags: falafel, hummus, maoz, melrose
7275 melrose avenue
los angeles, ca 90046
UPDATE: it appears the owners of muma have serious integrity issues and have completely ripped off another restaurant. please read this post before you eat there. i myself will be staying away!
hey los angeles vegans, i have some pretty exciting news for you. if you are familiar with this blog and our travels, you may know that there has been one non-LA restaurant we can’t get enough of. maoz vegetarian is an animal-free and almost entirely vegan falafel shop/salad bar with locations all over the word, and i will go out of my way for their food whenever i visit london or nyc. for years i have longed for maoz to open up a storefront in los angeles, and i think i may have finally gotten my wish.
muma vegetarian opened up yesterday on melrose, and in every way i see it, they are identical to maoz. the logo is similar, the menu is the same, the interior design is the spitting image, and of course the FOOD is tantamount to the ridiculously delicious stuff i remember. i asked the girl behind the counter if muma was related to maoz, but she didn’t know. muma is the newest vegan food to hit los angeles, and also definitely some of the best as far as i’m concerned. i urge you to go check this place out before it gets crazy popular and crowded.
so here’s how it works. muma has a bunch of meal options, the main ones being a sandwich or a salad box. for both of these menu items, muma gives you a simple base of food which you expand on by adding whatever you want from the exceptional salad bar. hot sauce, carrots, crispy broccoli & cauliflower, cabbage, salsa, tahini and more are all at your disposal…and you can take as much as you can cram into your box.
for instance, here is how a salad box starts out…
then you go for an intense round of food shoving at the salad bar…
and you end up with this…
or you can make it a meal with some fresh juice…
same goes for a sandwich—it starts out really simple with some falafel in a pita…
and you end up with a massive thingy stuffed with billions of vegetables, hot sauce and tahini.
it’s pretty fucking awesome. oh, and everything at muma is vegan, other than the eggs and feta cheese. so feel free to fill up on the creamy green sauces and marinated vegetables…it’s all safe. muma also offers some fine house-made beverages like the refreshing jalapeno lemonade (pictured way up top), plus a pumpkin hummus blend. i tried both of these strange concoctions, and they were completely unique and delicious. i will never get enough.
check out muma’s menu. i can recommend….everything (other than the egg and feta):
in addition to incredible food and a fill-it-yourself salad bar (am i the only one who gets super excited about that?). muma also delivers and has free parking. and you never have to worry about your falafel or pita being grilled with meaty nastiness…the whole places is non-meat!
so what are you waiting for? LA’s newest vegetarian restaurant is a must visit as far as i’m concerned.
7275 melrose avenue
los angeles, ca 90046
323-936-7697Tags: falfel, hollywood, melrose, salad bar