Mollie Engelhart, chef and co-owner of Sage, said, “Sage is comfort food or food for everybody that just happens to not have any meat or dairy.” But this isn’t her first vegan restaurant venture.
“The first location was the location in Echo Park, and that was in 2010. And so we’re 10 years in and we have four locations, working on a fifth,” says Engelhart.
While other vegan restaurants in LA are struggling to keep their doors open, Mollie was more concerned for locals. Even when the COVID-19 pandemic began, she said she still felt that she had to continue serving the community.
“We’ve been around for a long time. So, I don’t necessarily have to work 12 hours a day inside of the restaurants anymore. And it was definitely back to like the olden days where we were like, all day in the restaurants, trying to figure out how to make it all work,” she continued.
And her restaurants’ successes are easy to see. As far as plant-based meals in Los Angeles are concerned, Sage’s food looks dynamite. Here are just a few examples of the countless tantalizing pictures of their dishes, featured on their Instagram:
Before the pandemic, Sage focused on creating incredible organic, plant-based meals made with food grown on their farm (@sowaheart). But nearly as soon as the virus hit, they began selling food-to-go and pantry items.
Engelhart told ABC7, “We started offering CSA boxes from my firm. We started bagging up beans and rice early on. When there was no toilet paper, we were selling toilet paper.”
Even when patrons no longer had the option to dine-in due to the shutdown, Engelhart continued with her determination. She had to furlough around 65 percent of her team. However, after some assistance from a small business loan and new partnerships, she breathed life back into her restaurants.
Engelhart and her staff continue working to support the community in Los Angeles. Her restaurants and food also contribute to and support local organizations, including Support and Feed and Great Plates Delivered.
At this point, all Sage Vegan Bistro locations are open for pick-up and delivery. So if you’re looking for vegan comfort food in Los Angeles, Agoura Hills, Culver City, or Pasadena, make sure to place an order!