WEST LOOP — A much-touted vegan burger heralded for its juicy, "bleeding" appearance has landed for good in Chicago.
While the Impossible Burger had a brief Chicago debut at M Burger in late September, it will be gone at the end of 2017 and offered exclusively in Chicago at Umami Burger going forward, the California-based chain said.
Located in the West Loop and Wicker Park, Umami Burger added the vegan option to its menu last week. It comes served with two patties, caramelized onions, American cheese, miso mustard, dill pickles, lettuce and tomato.
While $16 might be a steep price for some burgers, it's comparable to others at Umami Burger and other highly rated Chicago burger joints like Kuma's Corner, The Bad Apple or Butcher & The Burger.
Created by Impossible Foods, the Impossible Burger is supposed to look, taste and smell like a ground beef patty (although some say it's not totally convincing). The juiciness meant to mimic a beef burger is created with heme, an iron-packed substance that Impossible Foods extracts from plants.
In the five months since the Impossible Burger was introduced to Umami Burgers in California, more than 65,000 have been consumed. This month, it was added Umami locations in Chicago and New York.
"We've seen an incredible response in both LA and San Francisco," said Greg Frazer, chief operating officer for Umami Burger. "And [we] are thrilled to build on this partnership's momentum" with Impossible Foods.
The expansion comes as several companies — and major tech investors — race to create a veggie burger that resembles the real deal enough to tempt even die-hard meat eaters.
While the key idea behind the Impossible Burger is making it indistinguishable from the real deal, it's hardly the only veggie option for burger lovers in Chicago.
Umami Burger, at 945 W. Randolph St. in the West Loop and 1480 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park, will have to compete with several well-regarded substitutes for beef.
Most similar is the Beyond Burger, which is sold at Whole Foods for home cooks and also made at restaurants like Veggiegrill and Epic Burger. Instead of heme, the Beyond Burger uses beet juice to make it seem like the pea protein patty "bleeds" like real meat.
In the West Loop, Little Goat Diner and Kuma's offer veggie burger substitutes for all their burgers, although the patties are not vegan. Grange Hall Burger Bar also has a garden burger served with cheddar, avocado, mushrooms and garlic dijon aioli.
Like the Beyond Burger, Revolution Brewpub's $13 veggie burger gets its bright red hue from roasted red beets. Made with cremini mushroom and black bean, the patty is topped with red onion marmalade and arugula.
Try our Cajun Black Bean Burger for a spunky twist on a regular burger. Made with our own black bean patty, sautéed onion, mushroom, spinach, tomato, fried jalapeño, Teese® cheddar, and Creole mustard. ⠀ ⠀ This one is also in our cookbook! Click the link in our bio to order our cookbook.⠀ ———⠀ #Chicagodiner #veggiediner #meatfree #comfortfood #ConvertAnOmni #cookbook #vegancooking #veganrecipes
Chicago Diner, a vegetarian pioneer in Boystown and Logan Square, has a trio of options: a Cajun black bean burger, a housemade seitan patty and a curried sweet potato-tofu burger that can also be made gluten-free, all for $11.50.
Other Chicago eateries with veggie burgers include The Bad Apple in North Center, The Rocking Horse in Logan Square, Upton's Break Room in West Town, Pick Me Up Cafe in Wrigleyville, Lockdown Bar & Grill in Ukrainian Village and Kal'ish in Uptown.