• September 3rd, 2010quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), NYC

    maoz vegetarian is our favorite chain restaurant by far, so imagine how excited we were on our recent trip to new york to see that they’d opened a new location in times square. we hit up the new maoz, which is the most vegan-friendly one we’ve visited to date, on our way out of town right before heading to the airport. it was quite a wonderful send off.

    maoz sandwich with hummus: falafel, hummus, and buffet salad bar! $5.70

    in case you don’t already know, maoz is a tiny little falafel shop, and the menu is the same at locations across the globe. you basically get a sandwich or salad box with your choice of filling–falafel, hummus, etc. then you add as many toppings as you like from the enormous buffet-style salad bar. there are tons of vegan options, and at this maoz, every item in the salad bar was clearly marked as to whether it was vegan or vegetarian. i’ve never seen this labeling system at maoz before, but i love it! it took out all the guess work.

    the seating is always cramped at maoz, with usually a few tables and maybe some stools lining the window. this maoz, however, had no seats inside! just a counter to stand at, and a bench outside the front door. that’s cool though, because eating this kind of food is super fast, and a counter is all you really need.

    we each got the traditional maoz sandwich, which comes with a generous amount of falafel, and added hummus for an extra 75¬Ę. we filled those up until they were overflowing with fried broccoli, cauliflower, corn, radishes, hot sauce, and creamy tahini. talk about delicious, stuffed, and colorful sandwiches. i so wish i could get something like this back home.

    belgian fries. $3

    we also tried the belgian fries for the first time, which were excellent. thickly cut, warm, and not too greasy. i stole some hot sauce and tahini from the salad bar to dip them in, which went down perfectly.

    i am so happy to see new maoz restaurants popping up all over the place. i just really hope their next stop is somewhere in los angeles. don’t you think this kind of restaurant would do great on hollywood blvd, or maybe westwood, or downtown la? somewhere that gets a lot of foot traffic? come on maoz!! until then, i guess i will just have to keep eating maoz whenever i visit a city where they have a location. i hit them up loyally on every single trip to nyc and london. ūüôā

    maoz vegetarian
    check website for locations

    Tags: , ,
  • June 22nd, 2010quarrygirlbarcelona

    hi quarrygirl readers, time for yet another international post from field reporter dadatamonkey! up until now his posts have been from london, england…but today’s comes all the way from barcelona, spain! check out this awesome review of maoz vegetarian, our favorite restaurant chain ever.

    Hello peeps the Monkey is back! In Barcelona, Spain (BCN) for a couple of weeks and feasting like I never have here. I¬īve even found a vegan bar with a classic Brit menu… Oh yeah, Barca is really rockin with vegan food‚Ķ But for now, let us deal with of one of my all time faves: FALAFEL!!!

    What can I say? Maoz Vegetarian BCN‚Ķ I LOVE YOU! How much? 5 times in 7 days so far, so go figure. ūüėČ Yup. You guessed it, I¬īm a Maoz fan of old, and have eaten their superb Falafel in 3 different cities for years. All have been superb! This really is the ULTIMATE in (healthy) vegan fast food! QG has already sung their praises so I¬īll just re-iterate how lucky I am that this venue serves the best version I¬īve had the pleasure to devour…

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Tags: , , ,
  • October 14th, 2009quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    maoz-cu

    whenever i travel to london, i always look forward to eating at maoz vegetarian. the concept of the restaurant is simple: a small shop that serves open pita sandwiches with base ingredients such as falafel and hummus, with a heaping salad bar full where customers can fill up on any toppings they want. fast food without all the dead animals…what a great idea!

    maoz-salad-bar

    my default meal is a pita with hummus and falafel, generously stuffed with the delicious salad bar options. their falafel is some of the best i’ve ever had, perfectly spiced and crispy, and they don’t skimp on it either! almost everything at maoz is vegan, and i always wind up a sandwich weighing about three pounds—overflowing with broccoli, cous cous, cauliflower and hot sauce. everything at the salad bar is crisp and freshly prepared…i really wish maoz would open up in los angeles, because i would be there everyday.

    maoz2

    the only down side of maoz in london is, it can get pretty packed and hard to find a seat—and you don’t wanna be huddled under a roof in the rain, juggling an overflowing sandwich. luckily though, the line moves fast and the tables turn over pretty quickly, so my advice if the place is crowded would be to wait until a seat frees up. we’ve posted on maoz in london before, and since then they’ve re-arranged the shop a bit to make it more classy and fit in more seating. the falafel is still exactly the same though, so tasty that it haunts my dreams when i’m back home in los angeles.

    luckily, london isn’t the only place you can enjoy maoz vegetarian. they have locations in paris, spain, amsterdam and nyc as well. and soon they will be opening a shop in san francisco! if you are reading this maoz, please open up in LA ASAP.

    maoz
    43, Old Compton St
    London, UK, London W1D 6HG
    020-78511586

    Tags: , , , , , ,
  • July 5th, 2009mr meanerLA restaurants, muma (NOT VEGETARIAN)

    “We don’t need to go looking for trouble, it comes looking for us…” – Oscar Wilde

    muma-maoz-logos

    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.

    Almost identical menus at Maoz Vegetarian & Muma Vegetarian

    Almost identical menus at Maoz Vegetarian & Muma Vegetarian

    From the look and feel of the food down to near-pixel perfect copies of their menu items, artwork and corporate identity.

    Menu artwork is almost identical at Muma Vegetarian & Maoz Vegetarian

    Menu artwork is almost identical at Muma Vegetarian & Maoz Vegetarian

    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.

    The Maoz Falafel vs The Muma Falafel

    The Maoz Falafel vs The Muma Falafel

    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 vegetarian
    7275 melrose avenue
    los angeles, ca 90046
    323-936-7697

    Tags: , , ,
  • November 5th, 2008mr meanermore restaurants (not LA), NYC

    Every few years, a great¬†culinary¬†idea comes along that revolutionizes fast food. Over the past 50 years we’ve seen burger chains, pizza chains, burrito chains, sandwich chains and even coffee chains. The basic premise is the same: “Here’s our basic product, now you tell us what you want on it or in it and we’ll complete the preparation just for you!”. And, it works. In my vegetarian days I used to love experimenting with different pizza toppings, and still now, a visit to a Subway fills me with excitement as I get to decide every time what kind of vegetables I want on my Veggie Delite(tm).

    Now, the¬†vegetarian¬†and (more to the point) vegan world has no specialist fast food concepts that are aimed directly at us. Of course, we can get ‘something’ at most chain establishments but food preparation¬†practices¬†and very limited choice typically leave us with the least appetizing thing on the menu.

    A small, European-based chain called Maoz threatens to change all this with a stunningly simple, yet highly compelling, concept that’s vegetarian in nature but appeals to carnivores as well. With today’s emphasis on fast, healthy food that’s inexpensive I think they might just be on to something. See how deceptively simple the menu is! (pdf link)

    At a Maoz you get handed a warm, soft pita bread with a few perfectly cooked and very tasty¬†falafel¬†balls deep inside, and your choice of several integrated condiments (I like¬†Humous, but there are two other vegan options), then (get THIS!) they let you loose on an amazing cold salad bar that’s NOTHING like you’ve ever seen before. Here’s my Maoz, after salad bar application, outside the Union Square outlet this past weekend.

    I’ve visited two outlets: Union Square (twice!) and London once. Both were highly¬†consistent¬†and tasted almost exactly the same. That’s a good sign for fast food, as the founder of McDonald’s, Sam McDonald (or whatever his name was) had an obsession about the customer experience being the same globally. Now, talking of customer experience, you’re in and out of the place pretty quick. Even on crazily busy Union Square Market Day.¬†

    It works as follows:

    • You line up
    • You order a “Maoz with X”, where X is the condiment you want
    • They hand it to you, usually within a minute
    • You get to peruse and help yourself to as many things as you want from the salad bar
    • You get to stand in the street and eat your Maoz, or take it back to the office

     
    The real kicker here is not so much the amazing pita and falafel but the incredible choice of salad items you can put on it. Here’s what I put on mine:

    Spicy Mushrooms with Chilies, Toasted Broccoli and Cauliflower, Carrot and Garlic Pickle, Onion and Chili relish, Fresh Zucchini and Lime

    I then proceeded to add some amazing cilantro-based hot sauce all over the top before retiring to a bench in the square to eat my lunch. Miss Anthrope was a little more cautious (her noted hatred of bell peppers can only be described as a handicap in situations such as this), opting instead for only Cous Cous, Tabouli and Tahini:

    But, even with such a limited selection, the Anthropic One had one heck of a sandwich to enjoy. I hope beyond hope that Maoz takes off in the US. They seem to be opening more outlets (Washington DC and somewhere on the West Coast [Seattle or Vancouver – difficult to tell from the map] are about to open, and they have a franchise application on the US site, which (if we were not in a historic credit crunch) would be a great indicator of more restaurants in the US to come.

    Regardless, I’ll be in London in a few weeks and will report back on Maoz, along with a storyboard of ordering and dressing the perfect sandwich.

    Do visit one of their locations if you can. You won’t regret it, even if you have to fly to Amsterdam or Mumbai to enjoy. Meanwhile, here’s the Union Square location exterior:

    If you ever walk past, please stop in for a Maoz. All this deliciousness was only $9.90 + TAX. Can’t think of a better deal for fast, healthy¬†nutritious¬†food in Manhattan — or elsewhere!

    Tags: , , ,