There aren’t many food movements in Sydney gaining as much momentum as veganism. First there was Gigi’s cutting out all animal products; then we had a vegan fish-and-chip shop; a dairy-free ice creamery; and now a vegan pub. The latest development comes from plant-based fast-food joint Soul Burger. It opens its second store tomorrow.
“Glebe is trendy and it has the right crowd for us,” says Amit Tewari, the restaurant’s owner. Fans of the original will be pleased to see an unchanged menu. For those who’ve never been that means hearty, sloppy, fast-food-style burgers with bio-cheese and impressively accurate faux-meats; thick coconut-based shakes; and spice-tossed fries. To coincide with the launch, Soul Burger will also serve a limited-edition burger Tewari has nicknamed Under the Sea. “It'll be a take on the seafood burger. It's going to have plant-based fish, plant-based crab sticks and tartare sauce.”
The new store is the beginning of a national expansion. Soul Burger’s ultimate aim is to be as prolific as McDonald’s. “The broader ambition of Soul Burger is to spark a food-culture change. We're trying to be in as many places as we can and be as active as we can on social media.” That way the idea of plant-based foods and the issues of meat production is spread as widely as possible.
He hopes each of his new restaurants will have a separate identity. “We don't want that franchise model where everything looks the same. So Glebe takes some things from Randwick but we've added its own character as well,” says Tewari. The wood-based fit out and drop lights are the same. Two wall-spanning pop-art murals by artist (and manager of branding and communications at Soul Burger) Kuz Kuzington (aka Mountain Boat Design) has been added. One is a representation of Soul Burger’s history, the other outlines its goals. The new Glebe restaurant will partner with Animals Australia. “Every restaurant we do will have a charity partner we work with,” he says.
The first 50 customers will receive a free burger.
Soul Burger Glebe opens on Wednesday September 28.