You can walk into a Bubba Gump Shrimp Company emporium on Maui or at the Mall of America and find pretty much the same menu: shrimp and more shrimp, done in more ways than I think necessary — but that's just me. The Gump's on Santa Monica Pier, though, recently added vegan fare and not voluntarily. The Santa Monica Daily Press says that former mayor Michael Feinstein, who keeps a vegan diet, was dismayed in May when he could find nothing to eat on the menu except French fries and a side salad. He remembered sitting on the city council when a requirement for vegan dishes was written into the fine print of the restaurant's pier lease, at his urging and that of another vegetarian council member. So he contacted Santa Monica City Hall, where everyone had forgotten about the rule. The upshot is that Gump's now offers tofu fajitas, balsamic tofu salad and a boca burger plus a fuller vegan menu on request.
“We’re fine with it,” said Paul Kajiwara, the restaurant’s general manager. “But I’ve never had any experience with a lease agreement like that before....”
“We probably only had requests for vegetarian meals once a month, now it seems like people are coming out of the woodwork. I actually didn’t even know it was on our lease until someone brought it to our attention ... but it’s going well. The people I’ve spoken to think it’s a home run."
While I'm in Santa Monica: Alum Mitch Chortkoff reveals how the Bud Furillo-led Herald Examiner sports section competed with the Times back in the day.