In 2011, I began the blog for the Appropriate Omnivore. The timing for couldn’t have been better. 2011 was also the year for the most openings of grass fed beef restaurants in Los Angeles.
All cows used to be grass fed, but after World War II, with the rise of industrialized agriculture, cows began to be fed corn due to its surplus. The problem was that cows, by nature, are not meant to eat corn. In 1999, there was the formation the Weston A. Price Foundation, which recommended to go back to grass fed beef, among many other changes in the Western diet. Then in 2006, Michael Pollan published the bestseller The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which gained even more followers to the grass fed movement.
Over the past decade, Los Angeles has been opening restaurants that serve grass fed beef, but no year had as many open their doors as in 2011. There are about 17 grass fed beef restaurant in LA and six of them started up last year.
Most grass fed beef restaurants tend to serve burgers. The newcomers to provide grass fed patties included two in Santa Monica, The Misfit and Shaka Shack. LA also got an addition from the San Diego chain Burger Lounge, proving that a grass fed beef restaurant can be a successful model and take on thriving gourmet burger chains like The Counter and Umami. There are already plans for another Burger Lounge to open in Beverly Hills this spring. Lastly in the burger world, Short Order was not only one of the most anticipated grass fed meat restaurant openings, but one of the most anticipated restaurant openings in general. Short Order was the latest offering from celebrity chef Nancy Silverton, who’s also behind the La Brea Bakeria and Pizzeria Mozza.
While burgers are still the most common way to find grass fed beef, two new restaurants expanded this sustainable meat’s status in the Los Angeles culinary world. Mixto in Silverlake became the first Mexican restaurant to serve it. And the small plate bar and restaurant Wood & Vine has a menu item of a grilled flat iron grass fed steak.
The rise of grass fed beef options wasn’t limited to restaurants. A butcher shop called Lindy & Grundy opened in the Fairfax district. The shop sells a wide variety of grass fed meats as the owners utilize the whole animal for the meats they get from various family owned farms in California.
With the grass fed beef restaurant scene having rapidly grown in 2011, I can’t wait to see what happens in 2012. And as grass fed beef has caught on, maybe American will latch on to other changes, such as raw milk, sprouted grains, and fermented foods. It should be an exciting year.