Orean's The Health Express

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 18 reviews )

817 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, California, USA, 91104

Vegetarian fast food restaurant with menu including items like veg chicken burger, fries, burritos, philly cheezesteak sandwich. Note the tartar sauce, soy cheese, and a few other items may contain casein, vegans please ask. Very casual atmosphere with walk-up and drive-thru service. Re-opened June 2014 after brief closure. Dec 15, 2014 confirmed still open. Open Mon-Sun 9:00am-8:30pm.

Categories: Vegan-friendly, American, Fast food, Take-out

18 Reviews

First Review by SynthVegan

they use regular cheese there - Edit

At least they aren't lying about it anymore. But with as many vegan restaurants around, I see no reason to go here anymore. I did like the Philly steak. But you have had to ask about the cheese being vegan. Makes me doubt everything they have now. I'm wondering about the soft serve now. They seem to jump around that question.
Updated from previous review on Tuesday November 20, 2012I'm sick of this place's inconsistency. You never know if it's going to be open or not. I remember it closed a couple years ago. I would have figured they'd learn a thing or two from closing down. But nope, I just tried to go here tonight, a little over 5 minutes till closing, and the guy waves me off from inside. I can see the clock inside is saying exactly what my phone says. Just complete laziness or they simply just don't care. But this is the last time I'll ever try to go here.

Pros: philly steak, fast food

Cons: unsure about what's really vegan

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Vegetarian Drive-Thru With Vegan Options - Edit

I've been eating here for many years and I'm really surprised how hard people are on this place. I'm a life-long vegetarian and a 5 year vegan. Many newer vegans don't understand that establishments like this--catering to lacto-ovo vegetarians, were the norm back in the 70's and 80's. This is "old school" vegetarian. Us hippie kids ate eggs and cheese. I easily find vegan options here. I ask them to use Daiya and they do. As far as the place being dirty, I must have missed something. It may not be neon slick but I'm not seeing the "ick" factor. Dude actually came out and wiped down an already clean table for me, then brought out a huge bowl of water for my dogs. Orean's has never been fast, that's something you learn through experience. I never come here when I'm in a big hurry. Nothing tastes quite like their air fries and when I'm in the mood for them, nothing else will do.

Treat Orean's for what it is--old school vegetarian with vegan options. I understand they just went through an ownership change, we'll see how it works out. From this end, I got good food and friendly service a few days ago. I'll be back.

Pros: Awesome comfort food!, Air fries, Doggie friendly

Cons: Not everything is vegan, Food takes a while

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Building looks dirty!!!!!! - Edit

Poor customer service. very rude. I would never eat at this restaurant and i will tell everyone in Pasadena not to go there.. Now i see why you never see a long line in the drive through or walk up window... Plus the place looks dirty and the workers look homeless.

Cons: looks dirty inside and out , rude workers/looks dirty, building brings down the neighborhood

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Delicious! - Edit

I've had their African burrito, Salad Burger, Chili, "Air Fries", and soy ice cream- all were delicious! You do have to specify if you want something vegan because not everything is (dairy cheese, honey in the granola desert). I've had rude service in the past, but within the last 6 months I've been twice and they were very friendly both times.

Pros: Vegetarian, Yummy, Easy parking

Cons: Not Vegan, No indoor seating, No restroom

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Questionable 'vegan' items, unfriendly staff - Edit

I understand that this is a meat-free establishment, but please choose other places to support.

1. They have consistently lied to many people I know about what items are vegan/are not. They will not be forthcoming, even when told that the law requires them to reveal ingredients.
2. Their staff is horribly grumpy and quite rude.

Please go elsewhere.

Pros: All-vegetarian

Cons: Lies about vegan questions, Rude

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Mmm - Edit

this place is so good but quite pricey! the orean burger without BBQ sauce and relish, and the vegan ice cream is soooo good! makes it all worth the drive and the $$. They are very accurate with getting the order right too!

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yummy fast food with a few disappointments - Edit

They've updated the menu a little bit recently. 10-pc chik'n nuggets are awesome! greasy but yummy and texturey, come with fresh bbq sauce. but the cole slaw is soggy and it is expensive! $6 with tax for chickn nuggets which do not increase in value from the small serving of soggy cole slaw.. i also love the african burrito, big serving, and the african salsa is very good. i continue to come here but it is just a bit expensive for what you get so even though it's fast food it's a bit disappointing. the green shake is good, servings are good, quick service, but too pricy for what you get, just because we're vegetarian's doesn't mean we need to get ripped off. i'd love to find a place that could compete with them.

Pros: big servings, yummy fast food but healthy-tasting, fast service

Cons: a little pricy

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I love Orean's! - Edit

I was surprised to see the bad reviews here. I have been several times with my boyfriend, and every time is better than the last! It's an older place, so it looks a little run down, but living in LA, I've seen much, much worse. I'd rather eat off the outside tables here than the counter at some California Vegan's I've been to. It's a vegetarian place, so you can bet there won't be any meat, but like the description says, stay away from the cheese, it's not vegan. I almost always have the Philly Chzsteak w/o cheese and a hot dog. The air fries are tasty, I like the seasoning they put on them. The African Burrito is AWESOME.

To the people who didn't like this place, or "have no idea what they ate", why didn't you try asking? And if you were that concerned, why eat it in the first place? Geez.

Pros: fast food!, tasty, friendly staff

Cons: next to mcmurder, slow service

1 Response
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Colinski 22 Feb 2013 - I dunno, I have eaten there a few times and find the neighborhood kids working there to not seem to give two sh*ts about the type of food they are serving and sometimes have been MIA when I've come to the window. I wouldn't trust them to be able to knowledgeably answer *anything* about the food.

That said, I have mostly enjoyed the food when I've eaten there, but don't think the negative reviews are without merit either.

Also, when are they gonna get on the bandwagon and start serving Daiya (or even FYH) instead of dairy-non-dairy cheese? It makes no sense: why not just serve real cheese, if they are going to go ahead and serve soy cheese with a milk product in it? It's not like they can call themselves vegan anyway, vegans already can't eat their cheese, and the lacto-veg folks will be happier. Seems like a bad business model whether they want to call themselves lacto-vegetarian or vegan.  

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A Hidden Treasure - Edit

I was writing an article on Vegan fast food places and I realized that they're hard to find (I lived in Pasadena, CA at the time). Then I found OTHE. It's located next to some of the worst places to eat (especially if your vegetarian/vegan). It's nice to know we have a better option, but I never would have known it until I looked it up online. I believe I had the African burrito (or something like that) and it was sooo good. The best I've had in a while. And it's totally affordable.

Pros: Fast/ Drive-thru, Cheap, Friendly Staff

Cons: Small place

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disappointing - Edit

I used to love this place, I am afraid not anymore. Last time we came, the food was awful! I ordered African burrito and ended up with a chunky old lettuce and cold/straight from can black-eye beans wrapped in tortilla. I am not sure what happened to the rest of the stuff that was supposed to be in but I was not going to turn around and go back - their 'air dry' fries were so greasy and burnt - shame on those cooks. Usually, when we come, there are girls serving and we had no problem with food, never. This time there was a guy in the window - ??? Bad food, bad service...very disappointing. What happened to Orean we used to know?

Pros: vegetarian, fast

Cons: bad food, food is not the same as on the menu

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Only One of It's Kind In L.A. - Edit

Yes, it is dumpy-looking on the outside and the server's aren't too friendly, and they need more staff, but considering there's no other vegetarian drive thru's in Greater Los Angeles that I know of, this place is great! I almost always get the Philly Sandwich. What I have done lately, and this would interest vegans, is substitute the tahina sauce they use on the falafel for the cheese in the philly and it actually tastes even better! And I loved it before! However, the cheese contains casein so it got me squeamish. But I highly recommend the Philly with the tahina sauce instead of the cheese. Scrumptious!!! And I drive all the way from Whittier (about 24 miles away)several times a month to eat here.

Pros: great philly sandwich, one of a kind place, Has drive-thru!

Cons: grungy-looking place, VERY limited seating and only outside, servers can seem distant and cold.

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Scary!!! Dumpy drive through - Edit

So going here I thought the opposite of what this was going to be. I expected so much more and really this is just a ghetto dump, which probably used to be a Winerschnizzel or something equally as horrible converted into low quality veg barf. I had no idea if the hot dog I inhaled was vegan or not. It definitely wasn't clean, but I was starving... There are a few benches, but I wouldn't advise eating there, just drive threw... Its super slow, took 30 minutes and the cars in front of use just got drinks and an ice cream? What the heck? This place is not an experience, I mean I guess its better than going next door to a McDonalds or a KFC. If you are the owner of Orean's please contact me. I'll freak'n give you money to clean your place up and help you put some vegan designations next to menu items. It could be so much more. I have no idea what I ATE!

Pros: vegan soft-serve?

Cons: dirty, too cheap, questionable

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Horrible. - Edit

I decided to go to Orean's because a friend loves the place and recommended it. When my boyfriend and I got there the staff was somewhat rude, it didn't look clean at all, and has very limited seating. I ordered a burrito which was cold by the time I got it. The burger my boyfriend ordered tasted like it had been sitting for a while. Both of us felt sick after eating here. I would not go back and will definitely not recommend.

Pros: decent prices

Cons: cleanliness, rude staff

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If you care about what you eat don't go here - Edit

I've been going to Orean for years. I quickly learned to only trust the 2 ladies that work M-F until 4pm. At other times I had food that made me ill. One of those times the young girl at the counter had a friend deliver her hamburgers from McDonalds; to me that was not a vote of confidence in the Orean food.

I had asked many times whether they used vegan products and I was always told that they did. Today I asked for an African Toasada without cheese. I watched it being made - with cheese- and when the lady was informed that it should not have cheese she roughly removed the cheese layer
and then covered it (ie hid the remaining cheese) with another layer of beans. When I got the toastada I could see a lot of remaining cheese. What this told me was that they really don't care; they don't understand. My guess is that they are not vegetarians. This is really poor food service; clearly, they should not be in the food indstry.

The place is somewhat dirty so I was always a bit concerned, but the ladies were nice to me, and as a consequence I assumed that they were conscientious about the food that they prepared. They are nice and they work really hard, but I cannot go there again knowing that they don't really care about what I eat.

The other problem is that it is a bit expensive for what it is. Having read the other comments about Orean's use of dairy products which they claim to be vegan, a consistent picture emerges. Veggie fast food is a good idea, but Orean is not the place to provide it.

Pros: location

Cons: poor preparation practices, uncertainty whether its vegan, expensive

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Orean's is fantastic! - Edit

Friendly and fast (after I finally decide what to get!), these gals are terrific. They're there all day and make fantastic meals. Love them, I drop by to get a bite whenever I can. Try to the philly cheesesteak and the super green shakes. Fills you up but still in a healthy way.

Pros: yummy!, quick, healthy

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very fast food - Edit

This place is great because it's the only all veg drive through I've seen. The food is ok and the prices are a little high, but it works in a pinch.

Pros: quick, convenient location

Cons: priced too high for fast food, not much table seating

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Went once and never returned, why should you? - Edit

Went here once when I first went veg and heard about the place as a good veg fast food place and the only thing i truly liked was the ice cream and fries. Tofu burger was runny and chili burger was just OK. However, the food was overall disappointing as well as the wait that I never went back after the one time, and good thing I didn't see seeing all these reviews about how shady they are using non-veg ingredients and I'm not surprised it's dirty--look at the facade. I suppose if you aren't a health freak and are lacto-ovo veg then you should eat Orean's, but I prefer fresh fare. I'm just really dismayed that they sound like they're being dishonest. I like to support any veg restaurant but this one is now questionable.

Pros: fries are good

Cons: not healthy fare, ingredients questionable, long wait and grumpy staff

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It's OK, nice to have a fast food option though! - Edit

I did not care for their chili dog...yuck! However, I did like my friend's tofu burger [they were nice enough to share :)]. I'm a little disturbed by the comments below. Establishments who are deceptive shouldn't even be listed on this site anymore or should be flagged at the very least.

Pros: Nice Staff

Cons: Chili Dogs

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