AVONDALE — Beloved burger joint Kuma's Corner, which for years has prided itself on not offering vegan options, is reversing course.
This week the metal-themed eatery, which operates four locations in the Chicago area and one in Indiana, added an all-vegan burger to its menu.
The burger, named after the metal band Converge, is made with the increasingly popular Impossible Burger patty and topped with cherry tomato jam, avocado mash, cheddar, roasted garlic mayo, baby arugula and red onion. Vegan pretzel buns, cheese and mayonnaise can be added.
It's quite the departure for Kuma's, which proudly has declared "NO VEGAN OPTIONS" on its menu since opening its original Avondale location a dozen years ago.
"Kuma’s has been creating burgers for and with bands for over 10 years now. We set out to pay homage to the world of metal music to the best of our abilities," the restaurant's Facebook post reads.
"Under many circumstances, members of these bands are vegetarian and vegan. So to properly honor everyone involved, Kuma’s will offer our first vegan-friendly burger option — The Impossible Burger! Vegan pretzel buns, cheese, & mayo available as well."
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.
M Burger and Umami Burger, two highly-rated burger joints in Chicago, were first to get in on the Impossible Burger trend here.
Bryan Bates, manager at Kuma's, said the Impossible Burger, though not comparable to meat, is worth a try.
"To me, nothing compares to meat," Bates said with a laugh. "I guess [the Impossible Burger] would be the closest thing to meat I've ever had."
When asked why Kuma's started offering a vegan burger now, after a dozen years of business, Gates said: "We want to keep moving in a good direction, and we thought it was a positive thing to try. We try to stay at the forefront of burger modifications and burger culture."
Kuma's is serving the vegan burger at all of its locations for the foreseeable future. For hours of operation, visit the restaurant's website.