By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
Designed as a convenience store/deli, Locali was created by Greg Horos and Melissa Rosen to offer consumers healthy, wholesome—and delicious—food.
“Locali’s aim is to provide delicious, organic food and planet-friendly products to the community,” Rosen said. “With our compassionate approach to customer service and egalitarian work environment, there is no pretense to Locali.
“We want people to have fun and feel good eating better for themselves and their world.”
Horos explained to the Palisadian-Post that he focuses on the business side of things, while Rosen works on the menu. While some of Locali’s business comes from catering gigs, its four locations—Venice, DTLA, Hollywood and West Hollywood—encourage foot traffic.
The Venice location, which is where the Post dined, has been open for almost two years.
“People are becoming more selective about where they eat out,” Horos explained. Which is why Locali uses organic ingredients, as well as deli meat of the highest quality from animals that have been fed a vegetarian grain diet, free of antibiotics, hormones, fillers, gluten and casein. Even the vegan cheese served as Locali is soy- and gluten-free.
Horos shared how proud he was that Locali’s food has been described as last meal-worthy.
Almost anything on the menu can be made vegan, paleo or gluten-free, giving people with dietary restrictions somewhere fast and easy where they can grab something to eat or drink.
The Post got to sample some of Locali’s most popular items, including the The Reuben sandwich, Locali’s award-winning top seller, which features marinated vegan deli slices, vegan cheese and sauerkraut—smothered in homemade vegan Russian dressing and served on rye.
As someone who is not vegan, this sandwich was delicious. The balance of sauce, sauerkraut, cheese and meat was perfect. Nothing was too overpowering and all of the flavors blended together. If I didn’t know this sandwich was vegan, I would have never guessed.
Next up was The Georgia Blonde, and though it can be ordered vegan, this was one of the only non-vegan items we tried. This sandwich features turkey, Swiss cheese, red cabbage slaw, Thousand Island, creamy dill dressing and stone-ground mustard, served on sourdough bread.
Hitting the balance again, The Georgia Blonde, which includes an array of toppings, was not overly sauced. Everything tasted fresh and homemade, down to the sauces and slaw.
And the portions were huge. The sandwiches at Locali are available in half or full sizes, so appetites of every size may be satisfied.
Then we switched to something a little lighter: The Big Daddy quinoa bowl: quinoa/arugula, vegan/gluten-free chicken, marinated in a spicy vegan buffalo sauce, celery, black beans and a creamy dill dressing.
This salad did not disappoint. The buffalo sauce gave the chicken a spicy kick, which paired nicely with the creamy dressing.
Now for Locali’s most notorious item: The Baaadasss Breakfast Sandwich. The menu warns, “This sandwich will change your life. You’ll never be the same. Unparalleled satisfaction awaits.”
It’s true. This breakfast sandwich was the best breakfast sandwich I’ve ever had. And probably the only thing that is a sensible portion, designed for one. Not that you would want to share.
Crafted with a vegan sausage patty, vegan soy-free cheddar, vegan chipotle sauce and maple syrup on a sprouted grain English muffin, this sandwich was saucy and, well, awesome. It looks simple, but the complex flavor of the sauce highlights the overall sandwich, which, again, I would have never guessed was vegan.
As far as drinks, Locali serves a selection of organic probiotic and beauty smoothies, made with reverse osmosis filtered ice (fancy!).
The Glamazon, made with orange juice, banana, spinach, celery, cucumber, romaine, kale and avocado, masks the fact that you’re drinking something healthy with delicious taste.
Same goes for The Warrior, which, with coconut milk frozen yogurt, hemp milk, spirulina, maca, hemp protein, sunflower seed butter and flax meal, is both vegan and gluten-free, but it tastes like a milkshake—down to the texture.
Locali also serves coffee, tea, dragon fruit chia bowls, soups, sides (Heirloom Potato Salad, Cucumber Salad) and more.
Our entire experience at Locali was pleasant, from when we were greeted at the door to when the staff was saying goodbye. Everything that we tried was delicious (and the leftovers held up until the next day).
So if you want something healthy and different—and you’re hungry—we recommend giving Locali a try.