Meatless burgers doesn't equal tasteless burgers. Here are five spots in New York City that are proving that quality ingredients and hearty substitutes can make any "burger" delicious. By Jessica Allen/Carly Petrone
185 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10012
Everything at by CHLOE is 100 percent vegan -- and 100 percent fresh. From the kale artichoke dip, to the pesto meatball, raw vanilla bean chia pudding and the classic burger served with beet ketchup on a potato bun— everything offered at this fast-casual local chain is made fresh in-house every day. The restaurant's main chef, Chloe Coscarelli, is not only a long-term vegan and well-regarded cookbook author, but she also won the reality show "Cupcake Wars," so finish your meal with a scoop of salted caramel or a cupcake.
The Cinnamon Snail
2 Penn Plaza
New York, NY 10001
It's difficult to describe the level of devotion felt by fans for the Cinnamon Snail's food truck. Let's just say it's intense—just check out the lines in Midtown, full of folks waiting to buy one of their beloved -- and famous -- vegan donuts. The newly-opened brick-and-mortar location at The Pennsy features the aforementioned to-die-for donuts, along with an awesome array of "samiches," including the "Beastmode Burger Deluxe:" a seitan burger made with ancho chili slathered in maple hickory barbecue sauce and chipotle mayo, topped with smoked chili coconut bacon, sandwiched between a pretzel bun.
The Organic Grill
123 First Avenue
New York, NY 10003
At The Organic Grill, you'll find delicious food made with sustainable ingredients. In other words, you'll feel good while eating— and feel good about what you're eating. Just about everything on the menu is plant-based, organic and vegan. If you're the DIY-type, you'll love the option to build your own burger: start with a roasted mushroom, black bean, or lentil patty, cover it with garlic aioli, guacamole, or cashew cream, add a fried egg, soy sausage, or caramelized onions and stick it on a gluten-free bun or in a lettuce wrap. To drink? You'll want to make your own organic smoothie, of course.
430 East 9th Street
New York, NY 10009
More: Best Burgers In NYC
Punk rock drummer-turned-pastry chef Brooks Headley began cooking up veggie burgers at a pop-up a few years ago, earning legions of fans, among them Questlove and David Chang. His standalone restaurant in the East Village came a bit later, and has since earned raves from the New York Times and the James Beard Foundation. His burger is a grainy, nutty concoction, served with pickles, tomatoes, Muenster cheese, and lettuce. If you're wondering, it's the hefty one at right.
345 Smith Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Named for the grandma of the chef/owner, Wilma Jean specializes in good old American comfort food. After a satisfying start of fried pickles with buttermilk dressing, you'll want to dive into the chipotle black bean burger (with or without American cheese, bacon, and pimento cheese.) Not a traditional Southern favorite, but scrumptious nonetheless -- thanks to a crunchy, crispy fried patty and a soft, succulent sesame bun. Get a side of tater tots, potato salad, shaved collard greens, and/or fries, and pretend its the Fourth of July every day.
Owners Robert Cox and Reese Martin have brought clean and delicious items to Union Square with plenty of family favorites on the menu. The standout at this joint is definitely the Fried Unchik'n Sandwich -- it's dipped in chickpea batter and served fried on a bun with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and VSauce. Don't skip the sides like fries and onion rings, (made with organic canola oil) and pair your meal with one of their vegan milkshakes. Whether you choose chocolate, vanilla, or cherry, each is creamy and satisfies any sweet tooth you may be having. Catering and delivery are also available.
Check website for various locations
New York, NY
What New Yorker can resist Shake Shack? The answer? No one. Their 'Shroom Burger is comprised of a crisp-fried portobello mushroom that's filled (yes, filled) with melted muenster and cheddar cheeses. It's then topped with lettuce, tomato, and their special sauce. Vegetarians get the last laugh with this delectable dish.
507 Columbus Ave.
New York, NY, 10024
Okay, meatless bacon is never any good, right? The folks at Blossom are proving that statement wrong with their Soy Bacon Cheeseburger ($15). This soy-based burger is topped with caramelized onions, tapioca cheddar, soy bacon, grilled mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, and chipotle aioli. In a word? Delicious. Choose a side of french fries, sweet potato fries, sauteed mushrooms, or a salad and dig in. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
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