Chains expand availability of plant-based burgers

by MEAT+POULTRY Staff
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 Impossible Burger at Umami Burger
Umami Burger and Bareburger plan to offer the Impossible Burger at a growing number of locations.
 
NEW YORK – More diners at Umami Burger and Bareburger will have the chance to experience the Impossible Burger. Both chains announced the plant-based burger will be served at more restaurants.

On July 21, Umami Burger launched the Impossible Burger at restaurants in Soma, Marina, Oakland and Palo Alto, California, making it the first better-burger restaurant group to offer the plant-based burger in the Bay Area. The chain debuted the Impossible Burger at nine restaurants in Los Angeles stores in the spring.

The Impossible Burger sells for $16 and features two patties, caramelized onions, American cheese, miso-mustard, house spread, dill pickles, lettuce and tomato.

“With the ever-growing and recent success of Umami Burger’s partnership with Impossible Foods in our Los Angeles restaurants, we’re excited to expand, bringing our constantly evolving dishes to the Bay Area,” Sam Nazarian, founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based sbe and Umami Burger’s majority shareholder, said in a statement. “Through our partnership with Impossible Foods, Umami Burger will continue to provide guests with creative options that stick to the brand’s differentiating taste and ambitious standards for quality.”

The Impossible Burger reportedly looks and tastes like conventional ground beef but is made from plant ingredients. The discovery of a molecule called “heme” gives the burger its beef-like attributes. Key ingredients in the Impossible Burger are water, wheat protein, coconut oil, potato protein and leghemoglobin plus natural flavors and micronutrients. The Impossible Burger also contains protein and iron like regular beef but does not contain cholesterol, hormones or antibiotics. Impossible Foods, a Redwood City, California-based manufacturer of plant-based food products, makes the Impossible Burger. The company states that the Impossible Burger requires about 75 percent less water, generates about 87 percent fewer greenhouse gases and requires around 95 percent less land to make compared to conventional ground beef from cows.

The Impossible Burger is expanding on the East Coast as well. Bareburger announced the Impossible Burger will be served in five new restaurants in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, New York. Bareburger debuted the Impossible Burger at its flagship store near New York Univ. in March, becoming the first multi-unit chain to feature the item.

Popularity of the plant-based burger has since grown — one in five Bareburger customers orders the Impossible Burger, the company said.

“We’re meeting new customers every day who specifically come to Bareburger for the Impossible Burger,” co-founder and CEO Euripides Pelekanos said in a statement. “Having the Impossible Burger on the menu is good for the planet, our children — and happens to be good for business, too. In the simplest way I can put it, we feel ‘good’ about serving this burger in more of our restaurants.”

Bareburger customers can select Bareburger’s Impossible Burger with Bareburger signature seasoning, American cheese, stout onions, dill pickles, little gem lettuce and special sauce on a brioche bun for $14.95. Or, diners can customize their own Impossible Burger.

Impossible Burger was served for the first time on July 27, 2016, at Momofuku Nishi restaurant in New York City. Momofuku Nishi is part of the Momofuku Group of restaurants founded by world renowned chef David Chang.

In April, Andrea’s at Wynn in Las Vegas began offering Impossible Burger in three dishes created by Executive Chef Joseph Elevado: Thai Crispy Rice Cups, made with Impossible Burger, mint, cilantro, chili, onion, ginger and peanuts; Impossible Burgers, three sizzling sliders served with frisée, kimchee, pickles, kalbi and gochujang aioli; and Ma Po Tofu, a unique take on meatballs made with Impossible Burger, chili paste, shiitake mushrooms and green onion.

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