I walked into my chiropractors office in Downtown Los Angeles for an adjustment, what I found was the owner of one of my favorite healthy Echo Park eateries. The sign in sheet was filled up, but Mollie gave me the thumbs up for a conversation that quickly turned into an interview. This was gonna be a treat.
Yummy Vegetable Salad
Sage from the front door looking inside
So, you’re the chef and owner of Sage restaurant in Echo Park?
Also Pasadena and Culver City.
You mentioned you’re expanding.
We’re expanding Echo Park’s location. We’re going to be the first brew- Pub in Echo Park.
We will be brewing our own organic beer on sight. And we’re going to expand to our full menu that we have in Culver City so we’ll have our soft pretzels and our wood oven pizzas, and a full liquor license with cocktails and beer and wine.
We’re asking for community support in this. I’m not asking for people to give us money. But for every dollar you put into the campaign you get a gift card back. So, Christmas time is coming up and you can give a hundred dollars to my campaign and gift your friends or family for presents and there are other perks for different levels of your donation. If you go all the way to the top levels it’s 10% to 50% off for life depending on how much you contribute including tee shirts and hoodies and there are lots of perks – we’re basically asking the community to buy food and drinks in advance so we can build out the pawnshop next door and expand.
I love your Sage Restaurant in Echo Park by the way. My favorite dishes are buffalo Cauliflower, raw tacos, and kale salad with apples. That’s what I’ve tried and stuck with it.
The goat less Greek salad is the best salad in Los Angeles.
You’re so modest.
It has avocados, apples, olives, red onions, massaged kale, and it has a dell cashew creamy dressing and a spicy raw sauce as well. And you can get it with or without kaniwa depending if you want it raw or not.
Tell me more about you. How long have you lived on the eastside of L.A.?
I don’t live on the eastside of L.A but I have the restaurant and I live at the restaurant and we opened in 2010 and someone was shot the night we opened and I remember thinking… maybe it’s not as gentrified as we thought it was, but as the years have gone by Echo Park has become more eclectic and sophisticated and that’s another reason my we’re excited to expand.
When we first opened we were the first shinny new star on the block and now there are several new stars so its time for us to upgrade, give more back, and have more options.
Do you live in Echo Park?
No. I live in the valley and we’re currently in escrow for an avocado farm in Fillmore so I’ll be moving to Fillmore and growing my own produce for the restaurants. My intention is to have very close eyes on how the produce is being produced. People can say, “we’re organic” but if you’re not there from beginning to end you really don’t know. I’m not only the chef and one of the owners, but I’ll be a farmer supplying produce for the restaurant.
What are your thoughts on how quickly the eastside of Los Angeles is developing while still keeping with the village “look” in the Los Feliz, Silver Lake, and Echo Park areas.
I think its very exciting. There are plenty of fun things to do and sweet little restaurants and businesses here, and I think we need to at the same time be mindful of the people that have lived here all along and not push anyone out. We need to move forward in such a way that we honor the Mexican and Latino heritage in this community.
I agree with you.
At the same time invite the new hipster, super flashy, cool, environment that is coming up.
Other than Sage which apparently is the best place in the Universe to eat, what are some spots you like hanging out or maybe a place to go for a tee shirt or maybe a candle… maybe a spot for a drink?
I love Stark for getting waxed. Also love some of the oldies but goodies. I love Millie’s. They have some vegan options. Kinda like an old grungy neighborhood standby. Some people may or may not know that they use to be my business partners when Sage first started so I have respect for them. Blue Bottle coffee is very nice. I’m glad there are so many options. Lassens just opened and I know that there are some social and political issues with people have with Lassens belief systems, but ultimately more affordable organic foods in neighbor are good.
What is it about Lassans?
They are super religious and anti-gay.
That’s funny because a gay colleague of mine introduced me the grocery store.
You have to choose your battles. I think most large organizations have a diversion from my beliefs. You have to chose your battles and chose wisely and make whatever compromises you have to make but more organic food and more organic farmers being supported is a win as far as I’m concerned. Basically taking care of the planet and our environment has to be our number one concern over animal rights or human rights.
Sage Vegan Bistro
1700 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
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