A Tofu Factory (and Vegan Restaurant) in the Valley
Kevin Tran has no customers, just friends. And for over six years, he's had hundreds of friends who visit him everyday at his restaurant and tofu factory in Reseda called Vinh Loi Tofu. "I'm a tofu lover," he explained of the restaurant's beginnings. "One day my wife came up with an idea, 'honey, let's open a tofu factory, we can eat tofu everyday.'" And so they did. In 2002, they opened a the factory only for a year later to turn part of it into a restaurant, which is now one of Los Angeles' best vegan restaurants (the staff of Los Angeles Magazine are huge fans and Discovery Channel visited the restaurant to show people how Tofu is made, that video is below).
"I'm not working—to me this is vacation," says the jovial Tran, who works "only seven days a week" and always with a smile. Customers come in and out everyday, whether it be for a meal or to stock up their own fridge. He sells about 300 pounds of tofu, 60-70 gallons of soy milk and a few hundred containers of faux meat daily. His menu consists of over 100 items and if a customer wants to think one up, he'll make it for them (fried tofu on french bread? sure!).
Tran's next move is to open a restaurant in Silver Lake, where a lot of his customers live and graciously make the trip to the West Valley for his food. It's way worth it, though, the dishes are so good, leftovers don't even make it past a midnight.