Restaurants

Vegan fast-casual spot PLNT Burger opens its first Boston location

On April 22, PLNT Burger opens its eleventh location inside Whole Foods in the South End’s Ink Block development.

PLNT Burger’s American fast food staples are 100% plant-based. Courtesy/PLNT Burger

“Top Chef” alum Spike Mendelsohn brings his plant-based fast food concept, PLNT Burger, to Boston this week.

PLNT Burger, located inside the Whole Foods at South End’s Ink Block on Harrison Avenue, will open Friday, April 22.

Mendelsohn launched PLNT Burger in Maryland in 2019 after partnering with Massachusetts native Seth Goldman, Honest Tea’s CEO, and Beyond Meat’s executive chairman.

Mendelsohn does a lot of food policy work on Capitol Hill, and it was on one of these panels that he met Goldman, who sent him home with his first Beyond Burgers. 

“I had never tasted anything like that,” said Mendelsohn. “I had never seen a plant burger that cooked like a burger, looked like a burger, and ate like a burger.”

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From there, PLNT Burger was born, aiming to be the first “really delicious fast food burger place that just happens to be plant-based,” said Mendelsohn.

They opened their first location in Silver Spring, Maryland, in 2019, and expanded throughout the D.C. area (where Mendelson lives with his wife and son) and up to Pennsylvania and New York City.

“Boston was an obvious next stop for us,” said Mendelsohn.

Most of their current 10 locations are inside Whole Foods, except their New York City brick-and-mortar.

While everything PLNT Burger sells, from their Beyond Burgers to their sweet potato fries to their oat milkshakes, is made 100% from plants, Mendelsohn said their customer base isn’t actually all vegan or vegetarian.

“They’re just people looking to bounce their diet out a little bit,” he said.

Mendelsohn expects this concept to be popular in Boston, too.

“Most people don’t realize that there’s such a plethora of people that are plant-based in Boston,” he said, “or who at least mix it up.”

Mendelsohn and Goldman expect PLNT Burger to draw plant-based folks along with health-conscious and environmentally conscious folks, since eating plants instead of meat is one of the biggest environmentally impactful decisions an individual can make.

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“The food choices we make represent our biggest daily environmental footprint and the Boston area has always been a community that champions thoughtful decision-making as well as delicious food,” said Goldman in a statement.

PLNT Burger has ridden the success of plant-based meat substitutes, plant milks like Oatly, and other forms of plant-based eating that have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years.

“You’re seeing plants pop up everywhere, in milks, in butters, in burgers, in fine dining restaurants,” said Mendelsohn.

“I could easily say I was the chef that rolled my eyes as soon as a vegan order came in,” he said, “but now I understand it.”

He said he now appreciates the value of plant-based eating, both on a personal health level and an environmental one.

“I feel passionately about eating properly and supporting the farmers who are supporting the planet,” said Mendelsohn, who has worked with organizations like D.C. Central Kitchen, Wholesome Wave, and Food Rescue U.S.

In order to replenish farmers’ soil so we can continue to have thriving food systems, said Mendelsohn, we need to be growing (and eating) more plants in general.

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PLNT Burger’s Boston outpost will partner with Lovin’ Spoonfuls Boston, supporting the organization’s mission of rescuing and distributing healthy, fresh foods that would otherwise be discarded in the Greater Boston area. As one of its first partnership initiatives, PLNT Burger will donate one Lovin’ Spoonfuls meal for every PLNTY Meal sold. 

Mendelsohn said the new South End location probably won’t be the only PLNT Burger spot in Boston—they expect to pop up in a few more Whole Foods, and hope to eventually have a brick-and-mortar in town. “You can expect a nice little cluster of us over there,” said Mendelsohn.

For more information, visit plntburger.com.

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