Henry’s, a new vegan burger joint on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, follows in the footsteps of neighbours of similar vegan ilk such as buzzing vegetarian diner Vegie Bar, and Yong Green Food, which specialises in raw, vegan and organic fare.

Named after animal rights campaigner Henry Salt, a distant relative of owner Maz Salt, the diner’s philosophy is ethical fast food made with plant-based ingredients such as chicken “pretender-loin” and “vheddar” cheese.

“We’ve been looking for the perfect site for a couple of years now and when Fitzroy came up it felt like the perfect location,” says Salt. “There are some very well-established vegan venues [in the area] doing amazing things.”

The fit-out is by the team at Austin Maynard Architects: Fitzroy natives who’ve designed a space that’s cool and clean and channels a 1950s diner. Big cement blocks and polished-concrete floors contrast against tall potted plants (some reaching almost to the ceiling) and bold green lettering that spells out “New World Burgers” behind the counter.

“We wanted Henry’s to be durable, easy and as relaxed as possible,” says Salt.

It’s clear that Henry’s isn’t your average fast-food joint; the space encourages you to stick around – rather than get in and out – with comfy dining nooks in the form of booths. There’s also counter seating.

“We’ve used natural corks, lots of plants,” Salt says. “It’s very well matched to the food. It’s simple, tasty, good-looking and does a lot for you without screaming about it.”

Executive chef Jarrod Moore, also behind the food at Salt’s other spots (Globe Alley, Ferdydurke and The B.East), developed Henry’s plant-based patty.

“Jarrod and I have travelled extensively [to research] Henry’s,” says Salt. “We really wanted to give plant-based burgers some love and some fun.”

You’ll see it on the Henry’s Original burger with ketchup, lettuce, vegan cheddar and pickles; the Hightop, which towers over the others thanks to a stack of onion rings; and the Chilli Cheese, with jalapenos and chilli sauce. Moore also created the mock chicken, which comes in nugget form or as part of the Chicken’d Out burger.

“Everything on the food menu or in the drinks cabinet comes from Melbourne or Australia,” Salt says. “We make all of the sauces ourselves, and all of the other [ingredients] are local.”

All the packaging is plant-based, too. There are also vegan milkshakes made with plant-based soft serve in your choice of chocolate, caramel or strawberry. Pét-nat wine comes by the bottle, and a house white or red by the glass. Beer is from Bodriggy and Stomping Ground.

Salt says for him, Henry’s is an opportunity to get involved in the plant-based dining movement and to help people change their eating habits for the better.

“None of us is perfect,” he says. “But a burger is a pretty great place to start.”

Henry’s
275 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
(03) 9417 7678

Hours:
Daily 11am–11pm

facebook.com/henrysburgersmelb

This article first appeared on Broadsheet on October 17, 2019. Menu items may have changed since publication.