Burger Lounge tests a new vegan burger

Hillcrest location introduces the local chain’s “flexitarian” Flora and Fauna menu


Ian Anderson, San Diego Reader (CA)

Oct. 12, 2020


"This certainly doesn’t look like beef,” said the boy, before he took a bite. After a few chews, he added, “But it kind of tastes like it.”


We were trying out Burger Lounge’s new Flora and Fauna menu, an updated approach to the local burger chain’s vegan offerings. The menu debuted last month, exclusively at Burger Lounge’s Hillcrest location, built largely around plant-based protein burger patties made by Sweet Earth Foods. That’s the Nestle-owned brand competing with the likes of Beyond Meats and Impossible Foods, which have grown exponentially in recent years behind vegan burger patties engineered to look and taste beef, down to its bloody appearance and sizzle on the grill.


I suppose, since Burger King serves Impossible Whoppers, and Carl’s Jr. offers Beyond Famous Star, Burger Lounge had to go another direction to differentiate itself. Its 13-year-old brand was built on serving grass-fed beef, after all, sort of poking a finger in the eye of virtually every fast-food chain in existence.


The Sweet Earth patties are pea-based protein, like Beyond’s burgers. Coconut oil and wheat gluten figure prominently. They look and taste like meat, that much is true. But do they taste like beef?


Not when you compare the vegan patty and grass-fed burgers side by side. I ordered both...