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Adding Meat to the Menu Might Have Saved This Former Plant-Based Restaurant From Closing

Santa Monica restaurant Margo’s adds back non-vegan options to the menu after two years of plant-based dining

A Detroit-style pizza from Margo’s in Santa Monica, with a gluten-free crust, on a metal tray.
A Detroit-style pizza from Margo’s in Santa Monica, with a gluten-free crust and plant-based ingredients.
Matthew Kang
Virali_Dave is a writer and editor in Los Angeles. Born in Mumbai, she has always considered the West Coast to be the best coast. Her writing has appeared in FoodBeast, NBC News, LAist, Life and Thyme, The Ringer, Input Magazine, and more.

Santa Monica’s popular eatery Margo’s Pizza Kitchen and Bar, which began serving only plant-based food in 2021, has added meat back into the menu as of last week. Known for having some of the best vegan fare on the Westside, including pizzas, pastas, and burgers, Margo’s now also has some non-vegan offerings, labeled clearly on its updated menu.

Margo’s owner Mark Verge says that the shift back to including meat on the menu was to make the space more appealing and welcoming to a broader clientele. After considering the menu changes for a few months, the team made the shift official on August 14. Margo’s first week offering meat on the menu made for one of the best weeks the restaurant has had from a financial standpoint, save for Sunday’s hurricane-related closure.

At present, Margo’s includes both vegan and non-vegan options for brunch and dinner. In addition to dishes from chef Greg Daniels like plant-based pizza (made with or without gluten), various starters and salads, and pasta dishes, there are now also non-vegan wings, pizzas, and burgers.

Earlier this year, popular burger joint Burgerlords brought back meat to its menu after three years of only serving plant-based fare. The shift started at the Chinatown location in January and expanded to the Highland Park location last month. At both Burgerlords and Margo’s, messaging around the menu changes has focused on wanting to be more welcoming to folks with different dietary restrictions and preferences.

Verge says that the more people who are able to come in and find something on the menu that appeals to them, the better chance they have to keep the doors open. “I think if we did not make the change, we were definitely going to have to close down,” he says. “I was probably going to lose 30 jobs. We were just not going to last going plant-based.” Verge adds that for the most part, Margos’ clientele has been supportive of this change.

Margo's Santa Monica

1534 Montana Avenue, , CA 90403 (310) 829-3990 Visit Website