What does it take to make vegetarianism and veganism accessible to everybody in Bushwick? How about serving a 100-percent plant-based burger that “bleeds” at one of America’s oldest fast food chains?
White Castle’s new menu item, the Impossible Burger, was engineered by a Silicon Valley startup, Impossible Foods. With its funding of over $400M, the startup’s mission is to develop plant products that are indistinguishable from meat so that even meat lovers will enjoy them. The Impossible Burger “bleeds” thanks to its molecular structure which resembles beef, even though it’s made of wheat, coconut oil, potato protein, and soy.
The vegan slider debuted with a big bang last month at Bushwick’s White Castle on Myrtle Avenue, near Myrtle-Wyckoff M and L train stop. Eric Wareheim of Tim and Eric greeted attendees at the door and guests included included Wu Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah and Questlove.
I stopped by the White Castle on Tuesday to check out the Burger for myself. For ethical reasons, I have been a vegetarian since last August, but that certainly hasn’t stopped me from craving a cheeseburger now and then, so I was curious to check it out. I ordered four sliders, two with cheese and two without. The bill was under $9 which is a few dollars more than the meat counterpart. While waiting for my order, I noticed that all other meals ahead of me were all cow-based sliders. After ten minutes of waiting, my order was called. I took the food to-go, deciding to eat outside.
My take on White Castle’s Impossible Burger:
While less greasy than a normal burger. The Impossible Burger is fatty, salty and the non-vegan ‘smoked cheddar’ found on the two cheese burgers gave me the illusion of a bacon flavor. It was hard to believe the substance is 100-percent plant based. I guess that’s why they call it “impossible.”
Was it good? Yes. Will I go back to order more? Probably not. However, I’m certain that this food is a game changer and props to White Castle for taking a risk by putting it on their menu. Nice tasting vegetarian options are often criticized for being more expensive and a privilege for the wealthy. The introduction of a meaty tasting, plant-based option on the familiar and unpretentious White Castle menu improves all Bushwick resident’s ability to have a say in the ethics of their food. And this is something I’m excited about.
While White Castle just introduced it nationwide, the Impossible Burger has been available at independent restaurants around the country and some smaller chains for several years now. As of Tuesday, 2,148 restaurants in the U.S. were serving the plant-based burgers, three of them in Bushwick.