Updated: Mar 19, 2020
Opening: 2016 in Venice, CA
Locations: 15 locations
Founder: Tosh Berman and Amrou Manaseer, The Madera Group
Investor: Breakwater Management LP
Buildout: Pacific Contracting Group
Taking on the modern organic Mexican cuisine with a vegan-friendly approach, the LA based Madera Group created its first fresh-casual restaurant concept in the Venice neighborhood and quickly turned into one of the best Mexican restaurants in LA. Tocaya Organica was created to fill a market gap in the fast-casual category by putting its main focus on health and sustainability and not on price and speed. Vegans and meat eaters can choose from Mexican bowls, salads, burritos, wraps, and tacos, full of locally sourced ingredients. Orders are taken at the register, freshly prepared in the open kitchen and then served at the table on real china and glassware.
The concept has achieved the almost impossible: vegans and non-vegans both feel equally represented because the menu is built in a way that uses vegan ingredients as a base and instead of asking vegans to opt-out of certain ingredients, the menu asks meat-eaters to opt-in. This way, nobody feels that they have to ask for any changes to the menu, which is often the case with standard menus.
This is the second Mexican restaurant concept by The Madera Group after Toca Madera, where diners indulge in upscale Mexican food with a strong focus on design.
The third, a food delivery concept by The Madera Group, is M|O|M, short for Modern Organic Mexican. It is different from the rest in the sense there is no brick and mortar location. Instead, M|O|M relies only on PostMates and UberEats to deliver its fresh fare.
Inclusion of Vegan Lifestyle – Local Offering & Sustainability – Wellness Food
Eating vegan at many restaurants can be challenging if you don’t want to eat a salad every time you go out. Vegan guests either search the menu for ingredients they can substitute and hope that they don’t get charged extra, or resort to ordering only side dishes. This makes them feel excluded and underappreciated. Platforms like HappyCow try to counter this by allowing customers to find vegan restaurants in their surrounding and connect with other users directly.
The good news is, more consumers are concerned about the impact of food on the environment as well as their bodies. This holistic wellness approach to food resulted in an increasing demand for local ingredients, organic farming and an end to toxic pesticides on food and water. The health-, wellness-, and fitness-oriented customers who see the food as clean fuel for their bodies, seek out restaurants who stand for sustainability and healthy ingredients.
Seasonal protein bowl: Spanish-style cauliflower rice, sautéed mushrooms & poblano peppers, sweet potato bravas, black beans, scrambled eggs & tomatillo salsa (egg whites or scramble tofu by request)
Breakfast Burrito: Organic cage-free eggs, black bean puree, tri-color peppers, caramelized onions, poblano peppers & tomatillo salsa in a flour tortilla. Optional: Beef Chorizo and Jalapeno Jack
Side: Vegan Street Corn with cotija cheese & chipotle powder
Just like their menu, the Tocaya Organica spaces aim to be just a step above the standard fast casual with marble tables and mosaic tiles, natural materials and neutral colors. The airy and bright spaces invite both a business person trying to grab lunch within 10 minutes, and a group of college students looking for a round of margaritas or homemade ice-tea on the weekend.
The build-out was carried out by Pacific Contracting Group, Inc, a California based restaurant and retail construction company.
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