Veggie Grill
Company typePrivate
Founded2006; 18 years ago (2006)
Irvine, California, U.S.
FounderT.K. Pillan
Kevin Boylan
Co- Founder Ray White.
HeadquartersSanta Monica, California, U.S.
Crispy Chick'n Caesar Wrap served at Veggie Grill

Veggie Grill is a fast-casual vegan restaurant chain that operates in California, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York. The first restaurant opened in Irvine, California[1][2][3] and is operating 29 restaurants as of February 2018.[4] The chain focuses on offering only plant-based food, with no meat, dairy, eggs, LDL cholesterol, animal fat or trans fat.[5]

In 2013 the company raised $20 million in capital, mainly from Brentwood Associates, and announced plans for national expansion.[6]


Investor Kevin Boylan and T.K. Pillan were discussing various new projects and, after personally experiencing the effects of a vegetarian-based diet, they wanted to create a way to share the diet with a larger audience.[7] In 2006, they co-founded Veggie Grill, which has since grown to be the largest vegetarian and vegan restaurant company in the U.S.[8] The two brought capital and strategic business skills to the table. Pillan focused on the developing the overall brand and guest experience while Boylan made sure they got the right real-estate and financing as Veggie Grill started to grow.[9] With no restaurant experience between them, they recruited chef Ray White to help create their menu.[10] White had been working with plant-based food for many years prior and focused on adding food textures to the menu that were familiar to the meat-eating population.[11] Veggie Grill now has a customer base of 70% non-vegetarians.[12]

In January 2024, the company acquired Next Level Burger, a California-based vegetarian restaurant chain, in a move that would create one of the largest plant-based chains in the country. This news came after the chain closed about 40% of its stores in August 2023 citing a drop in lunch traffic.[13][14]


Veggie Grill plans to double in the next couple of years.[15] In early 2018, the restaurant opened two locations in Chicago, its first locations outside of the West Coast.[16] Veggie Grill also intends to open four more Chicago-area locations at an undetermined date.[17] In 2019 they opened a location in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, its first East Coast location.[18]

Partnerships and menu

Korean Kimchi Beef Bowl served at Veggie Grill

In 2016, Veggie Grill partnered with Beyond Meat to create their plant-based burgers.[19] Gardein is also a key plant-based protein supplier for Veggie Grill.[20] Additionally, they offer cheese alternative products from Follow Your Heart.[21]


Veggie Grill was voted "Best American" cuisine restaurant by The Los Angeles Times readers in 2012.[22]

Veggie Grill received VegNews Magazine's winner for Favorite Vegan Chain in 2016,[23] 2017,[24] and 2018.[25]

Veggie Grill made the list for 25 Most Innovative Consumer Brands of 2016 by Forbes.[26]

See also


  1. ^ Hsu, Tiffany (November 24, 2013). "Greg Dollarhyde is Veggie Grill's 'chief energizing officer'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  2. ^ Hsu, Tiffany (January 28, 2013). "Vegetarian alert: Veggie Grill plans major expansion". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  3. ^ "Veggie Grill". Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  4. ^ Selvam, Ashok (February 15, 2018). "Veggie Grill, America's Largest Vegetarian Chain, Opens First Chicago Restaurant". Eater Chicago. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  5. ^ Sweet, Carey (February 5, 2014). "Veggie Grill coming to Corte Madera this spring". San Francisco: Inside Scoop. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  6. ^ "A vegan restaurant chain you've never heard of is gearing up for a massive expansion". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  7. ^ Miller, Mark (2017-07-14). "Exclusive Interview with Veggie Grill Co-Founder & Co-Chairman T.K. Pillan". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  8. ^ "When healthy meets fast food". MIT News. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  9. ^ Miller, Mark (2017-07-14). "Exclusive Interview with Veggie Grill Co-Founder & Co-Chairman T.K. Pillan". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  10. ^ "The New Food Heroes". Vegetarian Times. Retrieved 2018-02-02.
  11. ^ Miller, Mark (2017-07-14). "Exclusive Interview with Veggie Grill Co-Founder & Co-Chairman T.K. Pillan". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  12. ^ "Five Lessons in Entrepreneurship from the Founder of Veggie Grill - UCLA Anderson School of Management Blog". Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  13. ^ "Next Level Burger acquires Veggie Grill". Nation's Restaurant News. 2024-01-11. Retrieved 2024-01-16.
  14. ^ Heather Lalley. "Vegan chain Next Level Burger buys Veggie Grill". Restaurant Business. Retrieved 2024-01-16.
  15. ^ "When Healthy Meets Fast Food". Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  16. ^ "Veggie Grill aims to deliver Chicagoans an all-veggie dining experience". Chicago Business Journal. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  17. ^ "America's Largest Vegetarian Chain Plans Five Chicago Restaurant Openings". Eater Chicago. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  18. ^ "Veggie Grill".
  19. ^ "Beyond Meat's plans broader rollout for 'Beyond Burger'". Fortune. Retrieved 2018-02-02.
  20. ^ "Faux Meat Has Gone Mass Market. But is it Actually Good For You? – Los Angeles Magazine". Los Angeles Magazine. 2015-03-10. Retrieved 2018-02-02.
  21. ^ "VG Beyond Burger: The Hype is Justified". Big Tent Vegan. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  22. ^ "Readers' Choice 2012: Food & Restaurants – Paid Post". Los Angeles Times. 12 August 2012. Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  23. ^ "The 2016 Veggie Awards". Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  24. ^ "And the Winners of the 2017 Veggie Awards are …". Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  25. ^ "And the Winners of the 2018 Veggie Awards are …". VegNews. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  26. ^ Caldbeck, Ryan. "CircleUp25: The 25 Most Innovative Consumer Brands of 2016". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-02-03.