Beefing Up the Menu: West End’s Grown Cafe Goes Omni

West End’s popular vegan cafe Grown has recently made the unexpected decision to add meat offerings like fried chicken and bacon to their traditionally plant-based menu.

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Operating since 2017, Grown has built a loyal customer base around their meatless dishes like the smashed avocado, slow roasted mushrooms, and baby beet salad. However, the owners noticed the business struggled to stay afloat catering solely to vegans and vegetarians.

Grown’s traditional plant-based menu (Photo credit: @grown_bne/Instagram)

Now diners can order mainstream favourites like eggs and bacon with their Grown breakfasts. The famous Eggs Benedict comes with the option of adding Gympie nitrate-free bacon or fried chicken, besides avocado or smoked salmon. Even the cafe’s famous QLD Pumpkin gnocchi can be ordered with southern fried chicken.

The cafe’s new dinner menu (Photo credit: Grown/Google Maps)

They even offer a southern style fried chicken burger, which customers can opt to add bacon to for a true meat overload feast. 

Initially, Grown kept about 65 percent of menu items plant-based to continue catering to their original vegan customer base. However, within just a few months of adding meat options, demand from meat-eating customers led to a reversal – now only a small portion of offerings like forest mushroom on toast and smashed avo remain vegan.

Eggs Benedict Fried Chicken with house made pepper berry hollandaise (Photo credit: @grown_bne/Instagram)

Despite these big changes in their menu, Grown cafe sets itself apart by incorporating native Australian flavours into both its vegan and omnivore offerings. Expect to see bush pepper mayo, wattleseed balsamic, and saltbush potato positively influencing familiar dishes. 

The menu continues to change seasonally based on available produce, and craft beers and Australian wines complement the evolving dinner selections.

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The addition of animal products to Grown’s menu represents a major shift for the formerly vegan cafe. Whilst the change has been controversial among some loyal plant-based customers, it has also succeeded in attracting new meat-eating patrons. 

One thing is clear – to stay in business, sometimes restaurants have to evolve. Grown is striving to strike that delicate balance.

Find Grown at Shop G03/21 Buchanan St, West End.

Published 5-February-2024