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Inspiring Conversations with Trina Nguyen of Vegan Pizza

Today we’d like to introduce you to Trina Nguyen.

Hi Trina, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Back in 2012, my husband and I wanted to open a vegan eatery to promote Veganism. We had been vegans for many years and knew how difficult it was to find good vegan places to eat, so we decided to take the plunge and open up our very own vegan eatery. But what kind of food should we sell? We looked around and could not find any vegan pizzerias anywhere in Orange County. And we love pizzas!!! There were vegan Vietnamese food, Chinese food, American food, Thai food, Indian food, but no vegan Italian food. We then decided that this was the kind of food we wanted to promote and veganize. Thus, in 2013, VEGAN PIZZA was born. We came up with this name for our restaurant because it was straightforward: we offer vegan pizzas. We became the first vegan pizzeria in Orange County to offered a complete vegan menu from pizzas to pastas to desserts and today, we are still the only vegan pizzeria in Orange County.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Like any small business, we faced a number of challenges in the beginning. We worked very hard oftentimes 12-16 hours a day in the first few years trying to get everything done since we couldn’t hire as many people as we wanted to due to money constraints. Operating a restaurant is very challenging because we had to know how to budget and there were so many little and big expenses and we had to learn to do everything ourselves in order to help cut costs. Oftentimes we were exhausted at the end of the day, but, of course, very happy to serve vegan food.

Another challenge was trying to make our pizzas taste as good as the ones people are used to (the meat ones). We were always looking for feedback from customers and trying to improve the taste…mainly the dough and the sauces. Throughout the years, we have perfected our dough and sauces and have gotten great reviews for our pizzas. Some of our customer favorites include the Thai Spicy pizza, the BBQ Chick’un pizza, the Hawaiian pizza, and the Meatless Lovers pizza.

One other challenge was that our place was pretty small and it was really stressful when customers wanted to dine in and there just wasn’t enough seatings for everyone. We have since expanded our restaurant by taking over the space next door so now there’s plenty of seatings for everyone.

What were you like growing up?
I grew up in a small town in Northern California. I had a pretty normal childhood growing up, with dreams and aspirations to be successful in life just like almost everyone else. In my early twenties, I was lucky enough to meet my spiritual teacher, Supreme Master Ching Hai, and my plant-based journey began from there. Being plant-based in a meat eating world was very challenging 30 years ago. I remember how difficult it was back then to find vegan food…anywhere. There were barely any veggie/vegan restaurants around and even supermarkets did not offer that many vegan food choices. Tofu had been around since forever,… but burger, chicken nuggets, sausages, pizzas, pho, ice cream, cakes, donuts, all the comfort food, etc… were really hard to find. I remember always wishing for more vegan food choices, more vegan restaurants and more vegan-friendly places to dine in. It was with this wish that motivated me to open my own vegan eatery, and it was one of the best decisions I had ever made in my life. At the end of the day, I am happy to play a part in spreading the diet of peace and love.

Pricing:

  • Pizzas: $9.99 to $21.99
  • Pastas: $6.50-$8.99
  • calzones: $6.99
  • cakes: $4.50/slice
  • Thai Ice Tea: $4.50

Contact Info:

  • Website: veganpizzaoc.com
  • Instagram: veganpizzaoc
  • Facebook: veganpizzaoc
  • Twitter: veganpizzaoc
  • Yelp: veganpizzaoc


Image Credits:

Nathan Dang

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