Today is the day: Bend, Oregon-born Next Level Burger unlocks the doors to its vision of a burger joint, which features the meatless, “bleeding” Beyond Burger (spoiler: it’s beet juice running down, not blood) alongside the company’s own vegan versions of patties made with the likes of black beans, quinoa, and mushrooms. Hot dogs, oil-based cheeses, loaded french fries, salads, and shakes are all here too, served inside the Roosevelt Whole Foods. The madness begins at 11 a.m.
Eater previewed the space, which is set up like a typical fast-casual, counter-service restaurant, just inside the entrance to the specialty grocery store. Especially given Whole Foods’ merger with Amazon, it’s a huge growth opportunity for Next Level Burger, which plans to open in additional Whole Foods locations in Northern California soon and then possibly on the East Coast.
Next Level Burger makes all of its food without animal products — yes, that bacon is actually made of tempeh. The chain also uses organic and non-GMO ingredients, caters to the gluten-free crowd with lots of wheat-less options (including its buns), and, as in the case of this location, offers lactose-intolerant diners dairy-free shakes made with coconut milk or soy milk. Beer and cider round out the menu. The restaurant will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Next Level Burger founder Matthew de Gruyter told Eater he hopes to continue his expansion elsewhere in the Seattle area. He’ll soon face competition from a local veggie burger alternative in ‘Table, coming next month to the Denny Regrade courtesy of Mark Fuller (Ma’Ono, New Luck Toy).