Bad news, vegans: Native Foods Cafe is rolling back storefronts left and right, having shuttered two of their three Los Angeles-area locations within a matter of weeks.
Rumblings first emerged on the tipline regarding the Ocean Park Boulevard location in Santa Monica late last year, with Yelpers finally announcing the confirmed shutter right around New Years. Just a few weeks later, around January 25, the downtown Culver City location suffered the same fate, with little more than a small notice by the cash register letting longtime customers know of the impending closure. Now all that’s left is Westwood, where (for now at least) the Gayley Avenue address is still alive and kicking.
With a sprawling reach that extends from Southern California into Colorado, Oregon, and Chicago, Native Foods may simply be experiencing some growing pains as it blossoms into a larger corporate national chain —though outlets in places like Washington DC have similarly shrunk in recent months.
Then again, the increasing prevalence of vegan and vegetarian diets (and thus, the ability to find diet-friendly dishes on other menus around town) may be a factor for the company, limiting their ability to stand tall against more well-received restaurants with similar offerings. Company chairman Michael Nack confirmed as much to the Washington Post in December, saying the company was trying to remain profitable while rebranding itself for today's more competitive market.
Whatever the rationale, frustrated customers from both former locations are hopping mad online, accusing the company of going downhill, mistreating their employees, and ‘selling out’ in general. Here’s to hoping the healthy-eating brand can find a way to rebound in Los Angeles; after all, something's got to compete with Moby's all-vegan Little Pine in Silver Lake.