Diners at Umami Burger restaurants in the Bay Area will be getting a taste of the Impossible Burger, a plant-based faux-beef burger that’s one of a growing number of rather convincing vegetarian meat substitutes. Like branches of the chain in Los Angeles before them, Umami Burger’s locations in the Marina District, SoMa, Oakland, and Palo Alto will begin serving Impossible Burgers tomorrow, Friday July 21.
Made by the Oakland-based company Impossible Foods, the Impossible Burger debuted last fall at higher-end SF restaurants like Jardiniere and Cockscomb —where it’s reportedly giving the real thing a run for its money. The company has been ramping up production, and with a partner in the Umami Burger chain, the faux-meat maker seems ready to leap into more markets. That said, Umami Burger’s version of the Impossible burger, with two patties, costs $16 a pop — not exactly mass-market pricing.
The Umami/Impossible Burger (complete with Umami Burger’s branded bun and Impossible Burger’s signature toothpick flag) is served with caramelized onions, miso-mustard, house spread, dill pickles, lettuce, tomato — and, perhaps surprisingly, American cheese.
That was a problem in Los Angeles at least, where vocal vegans complained about the chain’s use of dairy on the otherwise animal byproduct-free burger. For the record, vegans and the lactose intolerant are welcome to order their burgers without cheese — but the dairy by default approach does betray that Impossible Burger is aimed at guilty carnivores who might be ready to make the switch.