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Vancouver vegan pizzeria 'unapologetically' adjusts menu to stay afloat

"Previous efforts to adjust haven’t been sustainable."
This Vancouver vegan pizzeria is adapting in attempt to remain open in a year when many restaurants have had to close.

"We are unapologetically excited about the new direction we’re taking," says Pizzeria Grano in a statement posted to Instagram Tuesday (Apr. 4). 

The Vancouver pizza shop was formerly entirely vegan but has switched to a vegan-vegetarian model with the introduction of dairy cheese to the menu in the hope of appealing to a greater range of people.

"In a year when many vegan restaurants and suppliers have closed, it is our absolute prerogative to choose to broaden our customer base to include people with different, but similar, dietary preferences," reads the statement. 

Among those plant-based Vancouver businesses to pack up are meat-sub company The Very Good Butchersburger spot Planetary, and another Mount Pleasant dweller, Kind Cafe, which is winding down operations this month - among other vegan restaurants closing down in the last couple of years.

Pizzeria Grano specializes in Neopolitan-style pizza and has been open on Main Street for the last four years. It is their hope the menu changes will help to sustain the businesses for another four "and beyond."

'We can only hope that you can also respect our decision,' say owners

"We respect that you may feel the need to only dine at a restaurant that is fully and ethically vegan, with fully vegan owners," the post continues, claiming that they "never misrepresented" themselves. "We can only hope that you can also respect our decision when we say that our current model and previous efforts to adjust haven’t been sustainable."

The description has been updated to reflect the change and they now advertise themselves as a "vegan and vegetarian Pizzeria Napoletana."

The new menu features a selection of entirely plant-based antipasti such as lasagna and eggplant parmesan made with cashew or walnut ricotta and two pizza lists, one vegetarian (Neopolitan pizza) and one vegan (Grano classic pizzas).

However, Pizzeria Grano assures that the entire menu can be made plant-based and customers can sub the vegetarian pizzas with house-made cashew mozzarella at no additional cost.

"It goes without saying...this decision was not made without taking every factor into consideration," General Manager Katie Mantei tells V.I.A. "Since opening, it has been very clear that we are missing out on a demographic that may be plant-based curious but hesitant to spend their hard-earned money on an experience or cuisine that they may not enjoy."

Mantei says that on a daily basis, the shop experienced potential customers leaving because there wasn't a dairy option.

"We also recognize that this directional change has lost us some loyal customers and for that we are disappointed," she continues. "But we are currently in a position where all of our previous efforts haven’t gained the traction needed to make us a viable and successful business."