The made from scratch plant-based Italian/Mediterranean restaurant Donna Jean is expanding to a second location in Sherman Oaks, located at 4720 Woodman Ave.
The new restaurant, based initially in San Diego, is expected to move into the former home of Pink Vanity Hair Studio in Early 2022. Owner Roy Elam tells What Now Los Angeles the new location will mostly be the same with possibly a few minor changes. He says he is currently working on the menu. Donna Jean was voted best restaurant in 2018 and the best pizza in 2017 and 2018 in the Vegan in San Diego Best of Poll. This will become the first official location in Los Angeles County.
Donna Jean first started in San Diego at 2949 Fifth Ave. back in 2017 as a homey locale for seasonal vegan eats, kombucha, and beer. Some items from their San Diego menu include roasted broccolini, wild mushroom cavatelli, risotto alla milanese, and several pizza options. Their pizzas are made with their 72-hour fermented organic dough. On top of the vegan-friendly menu, the restaurants also offer vegan specialties, including hot sauce, parmesan, garlic butter, and more.
Owner Roy Elam grew up outside of St. Louis before moving to San Diego to open this restaurant in memory of his mother. The owner worked as the former head chef of SunCafe in Studio City. His cast-iron Mac’n Cheese won accolades and was named “the best vegan mac and cheese ever” by the Huffington Post. While working for Matthew Kenney and Executive Chef Scott Winegard at Plant Food and Wine in Venice, he honed his craft, helped them win the Most Sustainable Restaurant Award.
“Donna Jean was the name of chef Roy’s mom,” according to their website. “She died at the young age of 55 from aggressive breast cancer, and he believes it absolutely could have been prevented if she would have been given the knowledge and resources to seek out a plant-based diet earlier in life. This gave him a passion to create something that would not only have made her proud but introduce a form of plant-based cuisine that even the most stubborn meat eaters can appreciate.”