After causing lines and sellouts in New York, Austin, Dallas, and other cities, Chicagoans will get what may be their first taste of the Impossible “bleeding” veggie burger beginning this week. Lettuce Entertain You’s M Burger at 161 E. Huron St. will start selling the burger on Sept. 21, with a catch: it’ll only be available for one month and only at that one location, according to a rep. The local chain’s River North restaurant will serve it with lettuce, pickle, onion, tomato, “M Sauce” and American cheese for $8.99.
Chicagoans have been able to buy the Impossible burger’s competitor, the Beyond Burger, which is available at Whole Foods locations as well as all eight Epic Burgers in Chicago since July. While both burgers are meat-free and “bleed,” Impossible burgers differ from Beyond Burgers by utilizing heme (soy leghemoglobin) — which the company terms its “magic ingredient” but the FDA reportedly has some reservations about — to give it a supposedly meaty smell, taste, texture, as well as make it “bleed.” Beyond Burgers use beet juice to achieve the simulated “blood.”
Superstar NYC chef David Chang put the Impossible burger on the restaurant map in July 2016 when he became the first to serve the Silicon Valley product at a restaurant, placing it on the lunch menu at Nishi in Manhattan, which immediately caused lines to taste it as well as gobs of press. Since then its become available at more than 60 restaurants around the country, including causing lines and sellouts in Austin and Dallas. This appears to be the first time it’ll be on the menu at a Chicago restaurant — some Umami Burger and Bareburger locations serve it, but not at the Chicago outposts.
Chicagoans already have a good selection of vegetarian and vegan restaurants to choose from, and will get more when America’s largest fast-casual vegetarian chain, Veggie Grill (which serves the Beyond Burger), debuts the first of its multiple planned restaurants later this fall at 614 W. Diversey Parkway. The Vegan Mania festival, which is in its ninth year, even happens this Saturday in Edgewater.
So with those options in Chicago already and more on the way, will Chicagoans line up for the Impossible burger too? Find out beginning tomorrow.