Visit vegilicious-us.com/ to support Vegilicious today!
Address: 16821 Algonquin Street, Suite 103, Huntington Beach, CA 92649
Phone number: (714)-377-3928
When you walk into Vegilicious, the love is tangible. This small, quaint Huntington Beach restaurant has a warm and cozy family atmosphere. The owners, Akira and Ana, always greet their customers with radiant smiles. Hand stitched, veggie-themed artwork compliments the walls here, alongside beautiful embroidered fruits and berries on display. The live plants contribute to the feeling of peace in the beautiful space. “Eat Well”, reads a sign on the wall, and that is exactly what customers are do.
The hospitality at Vegilicious is unparalleled. And so is the delicious food!
The thinly-sliced vegan Kobe beef is created by Akira in-house, and as confirmed by countless Yelp reviews, parallels real Kobe beef in texture and flavor. You might catch a waft of the Spicy Miso Ramen, topped with seasoned meat(less) crumbles, wakame seaweed, sweet corn, bean sprouts, green onion and sesame seeds- or the classic Yakisoba noodles drizzled in house-made secret sauce. You’ll be faced with a plethora of Japanese curry options, made with slow-simmered spices, vegetables, fruit and nuts.
All of the food here is organic and is homemade by Akira and Ana themselves. Their passion is evident in the taste of the food they serve so lovingly. The biggest challenge about eating at Vegilicious is deciding what to order!
You’d never know it by the beaming smiles, kindness, and enthusiasm that Akira and Ana show to their customers, but these two have been through their share of trials.
Akira and Ana moved to the United States from Japan, where Akira had been a wrestling national champion for much of his life. After working at a barbecue chain for many years, Akira began to feel immense guilt for the mass killing of animals he was contributing to. He decided to quit his full-time job and together, Akira and Ana poured $200,000 into founding Vegilicious in 2013. Plant-based food is always what made Akira and Ana feel lighter, healthier and energized, and they yearned to share that with their community.
“We come from Japan and have a big dream that one day all the people in the world will live happy & peacefully,” their mission reads, “We wanted to help people improve their health, help the planet better the environment and save animals…”
Vegilicious has since become a beloved staple in Orange County’s vegan community, as one of the first fully plant-based restaurants in this conservative city.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, like so many businesses, Vegilicious was forced to transition into takeout only. For months, the restaurant only yielded 50% of its usual profit. By late 2020, things were starting to pick back up.
But just when Veglicious had made it out of the woods, tragedy struck. In January of 2022, Ana got into a terrible accident. Her body was covered in second and third-degree burns. She had to immediately undergo an eight-hour surgery, followed by an 11-hour surgery to repair and graft her burned skin. She endured three surgeries in total. Ana’s world was shattered. Akira’s duty became to care for her.
Akira told Vegan Unlocked that the two were completely unaware anyone had set up a GoFundMe until a few days had passed in the hospital. Akira was completely immersed in Ana’s care when he discovered what the local vegan community had done. “People were very, very kind,” he remarks.
Ana ended up staying in the hospital for 50 days as she slowly recovered from her full-body burns. After her hospitalization, she had to spend six weeks in home care with a physical therapist. She continues to undergo laser treatment every other month. During all of this time, no one was able to tend to the restaurant. Vegilicious was closed indefinitely. It would have been a financially devastating time for the pair. But the community rallied and raised over $220,000 to support Ana’s recovery.
After months of closure, Vegilicious has just reopened with a full menu. While the restaurant remains takeout-only, customers are welcome to enjoy their food in the restaurant or on the patio.
The positive reviews are already pouring back in. Vegilicious’ new menu is better than ever, and there’s never been a better time to support this incredible small business.
“…It was well worth the wait,” one Yelp review reads, “I’m not sure what is used for the “meat” but it has the most meat-like texture and taste compared to other vegan ‘meats’. The owners are very kind and welcoming from the moment you walk in to the moment you leave. It really feels like you are seeing friends you have not seen in a while!”
Every visit to Vegilicious helps pay off Ana’s medical bills and helps this wonderful restaurant recover from years of financial struggles. We hope to continue to see the vegan community rally around this deserving business.
“We are very grateful to everyone who has sent us support, love, and prayers,” Akira beams, “We would greatly appreciate it if you could understand our whole situation and come purchase our food, which helps us keep our restaurant open and pay Ana’s medical bill”.
Chelsea Pinkham is a long-time animal advocate, rescuer, and humane education writer. Chelsea studied Communications & Journalism with a minor in Environmental Science at Sonoma State University. She has been vegan for thirteen years, since she discovered the treatment of animals on farms in middle school. Outside of Vegan Unlocked, she works for a nonprofit farmed animal sanctuary, authors humane education children’s books, and has personally rescued, fostered and transported over 1,000 animals. She enjoys camping, hiking, learning about animal behavior, and traveling the world on a low budget!