"The Very First Vegetarian Fast Food In America"
This place has a cool vegetarian rebel history. Established in 1960 as a Tastee Freez, then bought by current owner Mark Tsai in 1984 who didn't get approval from Tastee Freez to turn the menu vegetarian, but he did it anyway. After four years, Tastee Freez found out and suspended his franchise name, so he turned it to Covina Tasty.
I got the Chicken Sandwich Meal. The deep fried chicken patty is the best I've ever had with a good vegan bun which was unusually soft for a vegan bread, but the white "American" soy cheese became gooey with moisture of the lettuce, so I became suspicious it was mayo. Mr. Tsai assured me it wasn't.
My friend got the burger combo and said it was good. He probably would've enjoyed it more if he hadn't had his heart set on a mushroom burger. Keep in mind: There's "No Substitutions" for the combos...sigh...I wanted onion rings.
Although he deceivingly has many Tastee Freez marketing up from the 1980's that has expectedly faded from its original vibrant colors, it gives a Vintage/Retro/"Last Picture Show" feel to the establishment. Mr. Tsai is also an award winning painter, so there's a mini gallery you can see from the Tastee Freez- esque side and all the exterior artwork was done by him. "When you're a business owner, you have to do everything yourself." The whole place reminds me of the old burger stands at the beach when I was a kid.
While we were there, seven people came to the ice cream side, one of which had been coming for 22 years because it was so good. I'm not sure if she knew that it wasn't actual Tastee Freez product she was getting, but the laminated "No Beef Here" LA Times article (04/17/88) on the window states it isn't. If she enjoys it that much for that long, it may even be better than Tastee Freez.
(coming soon - VeggieArmy.com)
Cons: Location needs a face lift, Tastee Freeze like items not vegan, Vegan desserts are from Vegan Heaven