Mission Vegan: An ode to Atlas Cafe’s No-Cheese Pizza

It has been quite some time since I’ve contributed to Mission Vegan. I apologize. There has been a bit of a dearth in new and exciting vegan eats in the Mission, I’m afraid, and I was feeling sort of down about it. There are so many new restaurants on Valencia, and not only are they out of my income bracket, but they don’t have a single damn vegan thing on the menu. I don’t think restaurants are obliged to provide vegan options, but it is a nice thing to do because sometimes even omnivores get tired of pork belly and weird artisan cheese. Plus, it sort of makes me think that these fancy pants chefs aren’t very creative if they must rely on animal products to develop a dish. Anyways, I digress. This post isn’t about how much the Mission and Valencia Street suck now. We have enough of that.

Us vegans have it pretty lucky in the Mission though, especially when it comes to pizza. Escape from New York and Beretta both offer vegan pizza and Paxti’s and Amici’s deliver to the Mission. Once upon a time, however, we weren’t so lucky. The dark days of a Mission without vegan pizza were tough. We’d request cheese-less pizza from Serrano’s and get strange looks. Or, we’d buy those crappy Amy’s vegan pizzas from Cala Foods and dump a bunch of Tapatio on them and pretend they were tasty. It was hard times, my friends.

There was one place that did offer a vegan pizza, however: Atlas Cafe. As a Northern Californian, I don’t claim to know anything about pizza, but I do know that what Atlas offers should NOT be called pizza. The No Cheese Pizza’s toppings are an unholy trinity of sweet potatoes, beets, and avocados–three things that are a) too heavy to go on a pizza and b) have no business being on a fucking pizza!!!! And oh wait, I almost forgot, it also has tofu on it? The first time I ordered it, I was like “oh hell no,” but once I started forking it into my mouth (you can’t pick it up and eat it like normal pizza), it started to grow on me. It is so wrong, that it is right. I ordered it again the other day for the first time in years and this mystic pizza thing still holds strong.

So thank you, Atlas Cafe, for being a vegan pizza mainstay in the Mission. Never take it off your menu.

32 Responses to “Mission Vegan: An ode to Atlas Cafe’s No-Cheese Pizza”

  1. Fatima says:

    I love this post! I am also tired of reading boring pork belly-centric menus on Valencia Street.

  2. Erik says:

    That “pizza” looks awful, even for vegan food.

  3. Laura says:

    This dish has no right to the name “pizza”, but that doesn’t stop me from loving it.

  4. SFkix says:


  5. Chet says:

    Thanks for the good info.
    The restaurant clientele are also responsible for the lack of Culinary creativity. I think Zuckerberg lives in the mission now too. But, the tech bubble will pop and disperse the fraternity of Aspergers.

    • Whataperv says:

      While the tech industry may be affected by general economic conditions, expecting it to disappear is like expecting the financial industry to stop driving up Manhattan rent.

      • 1999 says:

        You don’t remember me.

        • Whataperv says:

          1999 was the first tech bubble. The internet was new and a bunch of companies tried shit and some of that shit didn’t work. The tech industry is now way more developed. You have multiple, giant companies employing thousands of people. Zynga lost share value, Facebook lost share value, and now Google has lost some as well, but none of these companies are going to fold because they’re vastly overvalued. Tech is here to stay.

  6. Creative Vegan Chef says:


  7. nofishtoday says:


  8. SFdoggy says:

    Actually “omivores” don’t get tired of eating meat because they are usually eating a bunch of other things too . And really claiming that chefs don’t have creativity just because they don’t fix dishes with the limited set of ingredients you are willing to eat is just silly. You have chosen to limit your culinary experience, don’t get all uptight because others haven’t made the same choices.

    • sure says:

      you forgot the bit about protein and B12!

    • EverythingSucks says:

      Isn’t part of a “chef’s” job to create unique and tasty food with limited ingredients? Isn’t that the concept/premise for just about every cooking competition/reality show on TV? It seems to me that all the restaurants that focus on local and/or seasonal ingredients naturally impose a set of limited ingredients on themselves. If a restaurant really wants to raise their profile among the deluge of new restaurants in the Mission having a few quality vegan options can really make a difference. The vegan community in SF is pretty well connected, so when a restaurant opens that does have good vegan options, word will get out. The fact that Herbivore is still around shows just how desperate people in this area are for vegan restaurants, so it’s pretty simple minded of restaurants to completely ignore this group of diners.

      • Ginny says:

        I’d also argue that restaurants that have a nice mix of veg/not veg menu items are pretty successful. Boogaloos, Weird Fish, Mission Beach, Beretta…

        I like being able to go out to eat with my friends and family, most of whom aren’t vegans!

      • Whataperv says:

        As a non-vegan with a lot of vegetarian/vegan friends, I think it’s awesome the more options there are. I enjoy eating vegetarian and vegan food and I want to go places where my entire party can eat something awesome. And ditto on herbivore.

    • Laura says:

      Limited set of ingredients? You call eating everything except for dead animals, and animal secretions “limited”? I feel sorry for you. I eat a wider variety of food after going vegan than ever before, and it tastes better too!

  9. Jon says:

    The Atlas Cafe no cheese pizza is the bomb. I’ve had it a dozen times or more, and it’s still awesome.

  10. GG says:

    Oh wow, a bunch of comments criticizing/mocking vegans and vegan food, and a completely off-topic gripe about Zuckerberg and “gentrificiation”. NOBODY COULD’VE SEEN THOSE COMING!!

    • Ginny says:

      True, but I’m actually pretty delighted with most of the comments here. I’m definitely eating that pizza like a taco next time I order it.

  11. pat m says:

    eat the rich

  12. Laura says:

    That pizza looks damn amazing. I want to stuff that in my mouth right now. I’ve never met a vegan pizza I didn’t like… but then again I’m from vegan-heaven Portland where they know how to make pizza!

  13. scum says:

    I don’t go out to dinner with veagns or people with food issues so I have no problems.

  14. malocha says:

    pack including: 1 × voice recorder. 3″ (230000 píxel) monitor. an ordinary recorder will only work for recording in-person conversations, not actual calls. the chromatic tuner that is included will ensure that your instrument is absolutely in tune.

  15. Jasmin says:

    I am trying to recreate this pizza thingy in my kitchen right now. I hadn’t been to Atlas in years and I went the other day to eat this pizza because I was craving it’s unpizza-ness and it was fucking delicious, I am excited to make some nutrional yeast,almond parm to go with it. And I am not even Vegan.