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Veggie "Better" Burgers

Burgers aren't just for carnivores, you know

By Jessi Cape, Fri., March 7, 2014

Card-carrying vegetarians and vegans aren't the only people who enjoy a good veggie burger, so it's not surprising to report that most restaurants here in Burger Town provide some semblance of a meat-free option (though the dedicated grills, and lack thereof, are another story). Some simply offer a veggie patty swapped for the original, but several boast staple menu items that could win over even hardcore carnivores.

What many consider the best vegan burger in town (nay, universe), the Bac'n Cheezeburger at Arlo's Vegetarian and Vegan Trailer is, at least for now, no more. (What reportedly began as an issue with the propane system in December was complicated when their longtime host Cheer Up Charlie's moved, and has thus far prevented the reopening.) But several other tasty veggie burgers around town help ease the pain.

Two local products grace the pages of many beloved Austin restaurants' menus. Local company Good Seed Burger's Hemp Veggie Patty – an amalgam of millet, hemp and chia seeds, fresh veggies and herbs, plus sprouted and dehydrated seeds – is featured in Snack Bar's Happy Burger (1224 S. Congress, www.snackbaraustin.com) and the veggie burger options at Austin's Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas (multiple locations, www.drafthouse.com). Another local meatless patty, the Hot Dang's Original Grain burger, combines barley, two types of rice, beans, cashews, and other fine ingredients and is available at local groceries and spots like Hat Creek Burger Company.

Superstar fancy burger joint Hopdoddy features La Bandita, a house-made black bean-and-corn patty topped with avocado, goat cheese, arugula, cilantro pesto, and chipotle mayo. Meanwhile, local burger chain and masters of keeping things simple and delicious, P. Terry's (multiple locations, www.pterrys.com), offers a beloved house-made veggie burger served up with the same shortlist of garnishes as the meaty versions. The matriarch of Austin's veggie community, Mother's Cafe (4215 Duval, www.motherscafeaustin.com), features its time-honored Bueno Burger with a special house recipe of seeds, grains, and tofu. For the raw foodies among us, Beets Living Cafe (1611 W. Fifth #165, www.beetscafe.com) created their Just-a-Good burger, a cornucopia of veggies and sprouted sunflower seeds and seasonings. The Jackalope Bar (404 E. Sixth, www.jackalopebar.com) offers a spicy black bean patty, as well as a grilled portobello sandwich with Brie and caramelized onions. Eastside Cafe (2113 Manor Rd., www.eastsidecafeaustin.com) goes farm fresh and local with their own vegetarian Garden Burger, made of lentils, brown rice, herbs, and Monterey Jack cheese with a creamy lemon basil mayonnaise.

Meat-free burgers ought to have the same chance for celebratory gluttony as their coma-inducing, piled-high, stuffed beefy cousins, and two Austin spots are solidly on board. Downtown food trailer Svante's Stuffed Burgers (503 Colorado, www.svantesstuffedburger.com) devotes one of its five menu items to a lovely portobello mushroom burger stuffed with bleu cheese and topped with roasted red bells and a balsamic reduction. And Your Mom's Burger Bar (5001 Airport, www.eatatyourmoms.com) offers a vegetarian patty stuffed with cheese on any of their celebrity-themed burgers, such as the Willie Nelson – a gut-busting half-pounder tossed in honey barbecue sauce, stuffed with Cheddar, crowned with bacon and an onion ring, and served on Texas toast.

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