Despite the City Paper‘s affection for all things dead animal (please see the famous “raccoon cover”), there are a few straggling staffers who don’t eat meat. Gasp! The Holy City is full of vegetarians and vegans, so we decided to help them out with a list of solid non-animal* patties. Next time your friends suggest burger night, you can smile, nod, and join them, without any of that guilt.
*We also dug into some seafood and white meat burgers, so, yes, some dead animals.
Kale & Quinoa Burger
Bay Street Biergarten
Biergarten’s quinoa burger puts the usual black bean variety to shame. With added crunch from white beans, the quinoa holds up in a way that isn’t as dry as a lot of veg- and grain-based patties. Topped with grilled kale, swiss cheese, crispy onions, and a sunny side up egg, the burger is just as indulgent as any of its beef-made friends. We had to take half of our burger home because it was so filling, and while that may have had something to do with our beer consumption, we think it’s a testament to the sturdy yumminess of a well-made veggie burger.
Rutledge Cab Co.
Best known for its juicy beef patties, Rutledge Cab Co. surprised us with a decadent lentil, mushroom, and rice burger. Rice on a hamburger bun feels pretty naughty — hello carbs — but this one was so good we finished it anyway. Topped with Thousand Island dressing, lettuce, tomato, and onion, we would easily choose this bad boy over any beef burger. We wholeheartedly believe in dressing an un-burger as you would a burger, and this one’s LTO crunch made us feel like we were biting into the real thing — sans, you know, meat.
The Jimmy Serrano Veggie Burger
Closed for Business
A veggie burger with a kick is a veggie burger we wanna try. CFB’s Jimmy Serrano burger is made with butter beans, red bell peppers, onions, jalapeño, carrots, and toasted almonds, exploding into a spicy, crunch-fest in our mouths. Topped with serrano pepper sauce and lettuce, tomato, pickle, and onion, this burger was unlike any veg-based patty we’ve ever tried (and yes, we’ve tried a lot). The creaminess from the butter beans gave a new meaning to bean burger, and we’re starting to think we’ll never go back to the black bean variety.
Jive Turkey Burger
Big Gun Burger Shop
The Jive Turkey, Big Gun’s “not beef” burger option, is a patty any red-meat enthusiast would salivate over. Juicy, thick, and a far cry from the desert-dry turkey burgers of the world, the Jive earns its artisan classification with the addition of fresh sliced avocado, a sweet/spicy peach jalapeño mustard, sprouts, gouda cheese, and, of course, turkey bacon. You can even add caramelized onions or an egg to this bad boy, begging the question — did the turkey or the egg come first?
Of the burgers we tried, Cypress’ tuna burger has the closest texture to a beef burger. It’s a ground tuna patty, topped with tempura avocado, black sesame mayo, and cilantro. And the best part? This sucker falls under the category of Cypress’ “burger night” — yep, on Monday’s it’s $5 along with the rest of the burgers. Make sure to call ahead to check on the burger’s availability because it’s not always on the menu. An elusive, juicy, avocado-topped piece of heaven? Yes, please. And make sure to ask for extra mayo on the side, because, mayo.