A new restaurant in Silver Spring, Maryland is offering customers a plant-based experience that aims to connect eaters to the food system and to the producers of the ingredients for the burger joint.
Spearheaded by celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn, head of operations Benjamin Kaplan, and social entrepreneur Julie Farkas, PLNT Burger will offer a plant-based menu featuring classic American diner items including french fries and oat-milk-based ice cream—without the negative environmental impacts of animal-based products. “The flavor will speak for itself,” the founders tell Food Tank. “And PLNT Burger offerings are able to capture and improve upon their animal-based predecessors with a small fraction of the environmental footprint.”
PLNT Burger, first opening as a kiosk in Whole Foods, collaborates with Beyond Meat and Honest Tea to complete the restaurant’s offerings. “Every product we’re using comes from a company that feels the same way we do about the planet. It’s really tied back to our sourcing and how we plan to celebrate nature,” Kaplan tells Food Tank.
According to the founders, the plant-based offerings aren’t alternatives to meat or dairy, but are more direct ways for people to consume the American foods they already love. “Our burgers are meat, just plant-based meat,” says Mendelsohn. “We are skipping the complicated and extremely inefficient middlemen: the animals…. We’re able now to directly translate plant matter directly into meat.”
PLNT Burger aims not only to serve up delicious food, but also to integrate each customer into a movement of conscious eaters that honors the beauty of nature and the work of the world’s farmers. “Through promoting the producers and emphasizing the richness and flavor of our menu offerings, we’re getting people excited about balanced diets, growing food and celebrating… the ecological connection between humans and our food,” Jonah Goldman, Director of Strategic Marketing, tells Food Tank.
The restaurant will highlight this relationship by telling the stories of farmers and by offering customers in-person and online resources that help people understand ways they can alleviate food insecurity and increase the amount of healthy food in their communities. “We want consumers to feel confident and literate about how they can help achieve food justice or support local farmers—through this uplifting burger experience, we’re hoping to empower every customer to learn more and engage with the resources we’ll offer them,” Goldman tells Food Tank.
“And we want to expand this movement to more people, who are currently disenfranchised or unaware of their power to vote—and eat—for change as a consumer,” the founders tell Food Tank. With a menu reflective of fast-casual food prices—with burgers ranging from US$6.95 to US$9.75—the founders hope that the restaurant offers everyone a chance to be a part of the plant-based movement and support eating for a better planet. “We see PLNT as a way to integrate plants, planet, and plenty for all.”