It’s no secret that plant-based dining options are grabbing more market share with every passing year. Not just the realm of vegetarians and vegans anymore, die-hard carnivores are also coming around, whether for health or ethical reasons. Now, the latest generation of meat-free burgers are finding a home in an unlikely location: BurgerFi, a national chain that has a foothold here in Alexandria.
Beginning this week, BurgerFi will offer a hearty plant-based burger, the Beyond Burger from Beyond Meat, alongside its animal-source options on the menu. And well before Monday’s launch, the store’s phone has been ringing off the hook with requests for status updates.
“The amount of phone calls that we have been getting is ridiculous,” laughed Alexandria BurgerFi general manager Christopher Landry. After news of the Beyond Burger’s partnership with BurgerFi was featured on the “Today” show in July, the 111 N. Pitt St. location received an onslaught of requests.
“We are the first chain to adopt a fully plant-based burger, and Beyond Meat is the first 100 percent plant-based burger to acquire a restaurant chain like BurgerFi,” Landry said. “The Beyond Burger follows BurgerFi’s philosophy of purist — our beef as well as no hormones, no antibiotics, no steroids ever ever.”
The Beyond Burger isn’t a paltry, cardboard affair. Rather, its meaty texture and hearty, even slightly fatty, taste is incredibly reminiscent of the animal-based variety. And it contains 20 grams of protein — the same as a beef burger.
“It cooks and gives you the feel of a regular beef patty,” Landry said. “… My wife likes it so much that we’ve now had it several times at home.”
Despite the new burger’s arrival to the menu, the restaurant’s existing veggie burger will also keep its place, Landry said. The original veggie burger is made in-house with quinoa and vegetables; while it’s vegetarian, it’s not vegan. The Beyond Burger swoops in to fill that gap — and then some.
“BurgerFi did want to keep a traditional burger experience, so the standard Beyond Burger is going to come with onions, pickles, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, and American cheese,” Landry said. There’ll be a fully vegan option, too, which comes in a lettuce wrap and will omit the cheese and mayo.
But humans can’t live on burgers alone. Pair some freshly made French fries with the sandwich and you’ve got a complete meal, Landry said. Not to mention a little something to wash it all down — perhaps a sampling of BurgerFi’s craft beer selection.
The Beyond Burger’s addition to the menu is a welcome one, and Landry aims for it to be well-received by customers.
“I never get tired of hearing ‘This is the best burger I’ve ever had,’ and I hear it all the time,” he said.
Hope Nelson owns and operates the Kitchen Recessionista blog, located at www.kitchenrecessionista.com. Email her any time at email@example.com.