Nirvana Grille Goes Above and Beyond to Nourish Its Community When It Needs It the Most

It didn’t take long for Chef/Owner Lindsay Smith-Rosales of Nirvana Grille to pivot from a beloved, staple restaurant in Laguna Beach to a beloved restaurant providing staples. For hundreds upon thousands of restaurants across the nation, shelter-in-place orders due to COVID-19 has been a massive blow to the industry’s gut, leaving restaurants reeling to find ways to keep staff employed and rent paid. On March 12, Nirvana Grille was a restaurant, a couple of days later it was a Co-Op providing patrons needed staples like beans, bread and even toilet paper.

In a March 13 message to her customers via social media, Smith-Rosales wrote;

“To our Laguna Community, Patrons, Friends and Extended Nirvana Family,

As we see more and more empty shelves and scarcity, we as a restaurant have access to more than the normal family. We are here to help be a resource to all and make certain we work together in staying supported as a community and nation instead of in fear or panic. If you are not wanting to go into stores, fight crowds, or are having a challenge in finding food items, cleaning supplies, household necessities, etc., we are here to offer support. We will be ordering from our vendors and putting together a Co-Op here at Nirvana Grille, and bringing back what is so important during times like these: open arms and open doors! … We must pull together, and we are here to help make sure mouths are fed, bottoms are clean, and panic is minimized.”

A word from Owner & Chef Lindsay

Well, day 5 of our new shift in business and all I can say is what an incredibly humbling, amazing and a bit tiresome of a process. But what a high payoff and reward to be a part of something so great that I thought up while waiting for my doctor that was running late exactly 1 week ago. I didn't really think I this would be the overwhelmingly positive outcome in just supplying a few things to the community! But I am so grateful that I am always living in a space of creativity, adaptability, positive impact, joy and looking from the peripheral vision. It's great to see what can be done to solve simple challenges, not being in a place of fear to hold me back from what may be a change from normal expectations and biggest not being attached to a specific outcome!! We have really worked through quickly a great system to meet our grocery online store needs and hope to have 90% of my staff back to work if we keep growing as wuickly tonmeet demands and doing what we can for my hometown Laguna Beach Community. We just maybe have to be doing things differently that we are used to doing! Thank you to everyone for the encouragement, the kindness, emails, tips for my staff, donations, foot bumps, story sharing and more! It makes my sleepless nights and busy days forgetting to eat while we get to some sort of normalcy in this all in keeping up so much more bearable and enjoyable! I am tonight setting my presidence to have some much needed self care and rest! My team is incredible and I am so grateful that we can be there for them. It is so rewarding. Thank you to all of them, especially my assistsnt Scotty Welch for sticking with it and getting answers when we were stuck, working tirelessly with me to get a store going online in a matter of a day and continuing to grow and adapt as necessary! As you say "we've got this!" We absolutely do and are ready to take on the next challenge of getting so busy we will need more of our staff back to work! We look forward to feeding you all soon with our Restaurant Hot Food To-Go, Delivery and Curbside orders and to fill your Nirvana Co-Op Grocery orders. You can order delivery or pick up Tuesday through Saturday! If you place an order anytime each day, we will have ready the SAME DAY as all items are updated daily with a live counting down inventory. Keep checking back for additions and availability . We are filling orders within the hour for pick up after 2pm until 7pm. We no longer need 24 hours! LINK TO ORDER-Order Co-Op or hot food on same order and pay at or call me at 949.637.4708 with any questions.All my best and look forward to feeding you soon, Chef Lindsay Marie Smith-Rosales

Posted by Nirvana Grille on Saturday, March 21, 2020
Chef Lindsay Smith-Rosales shares more on her inspiration to create Nirvana Grille Co-Op

In no time at all, Smith-Rosales created a Shopify website for Nirvana Grille Co-Op featuring an impressive 100 plus item selection of produce, hot meals and wine. There’s a bounty of bread (an unusually hard to find staple these days), fresh veggies and fruit, high-quality cheese, organic meat (even paleo chicken sausage), canned and dried goods, and even gourmet house-made items like rosemary roasted beef Demi-glace and seasoning salt. The hot meal selection is five-star too; think salmon chowder, pistachio dijon rack of lamb, grilled caesar salad, and streusel apple pie— the drool-worthy menu goes on and on.

It’s a menu Smith-Rosales’ created with her dedicated staff. In a dismal time when restaurants are forced to make hard decisions to lay off upwards of 90 percent of staff, Smith-Rosales has been able to retain 90 percent of her staff members. Her team is like family, and family takes care of family.

Smith-Rosales’ quick thinking was embraced immediately by the community of Laguna Beach, who were hungry for hard to find grocery items and comfort food and a bit of humanity really to lighten somber headlines.

“The response has been overwhelmingly inspiring,” said Smith-Rosales. “People are so gracious and grateful that we’re doing this— we’re supplying something that people are so anxious to get that now they’re feeling at ease and peace. And that was kind of the goal. I don’t want people to feel so overwhelmed when we have the accessibility [to groceries] that we have.”

Smith-Rosales effectively closed the loop on a wavering restaurant food supply chain. With restaurants closing at an unprecedented clip, food vendors are left with warehouses full of perishable items. Her co-op ensures no food goes wasted while supplying a demand to feed her community— it may no longer be in the form of plated dinners, but it’s still food that nourishes, maybe even more so than ever before.

There isn’t a better time to support Ocean Friendly Restaurants. Restaurant owners like Smith-Rosales are committed to a series of plastic-free practices, such as using reusable utensils onsite and not using plastic straws or bags. If you are looking for a takeout or delivered meal, check out this map of Ocean Friendly Restaurants near you!

Nirvana Grille |303 Broadway St #101, Laguna Beach, CA 92651 | 949.497.0027

Click Here to View Co-Op

All orders are for same-day delivery or pickup. Please add any additional information (exact time, food prep., etc.) in the notes section on the CART page before checkout. Orders will be available at Nirvana Grille (303 Broadway St #101, Laguna Beach, CA 92651) from 3pm – 7pm, Tues. – Sat.
If you have any questions, please reach out to us at 949.497.0027 or