Appetizers

Hey, meat eaters: This plant-based burger is good. Really.

If you’re wondering about one of the next big trends in food, get in line – at the Burger Patch pop-up event starting Saturday at noon.

The brainchild of a Sacramento husband-and-wife team, the Burger Patch concept offers the classic all-American hamburger, fries and shake with a contemporary, healthy, environmentally friendly and, yes, entirely plant-based twist. Those burgers folks will be devouring will be meatless and, based on a recent taste test, delicious.

The event was expected to draw crowds at 1801 L St., Suite 50, Sacramento, the space formerly occupied by the short-lived Saddle Rock restaurant. Proceeds will go to the nonprofit Food Literacy Center and only credit/debit card payments will be accepted. No cash.

The Double Patch burger costs $11.50; the Original Patch Burger is $7; a Shovel of Spuds is $2.50; and an Earth Quake Shake is $5. There will also be a plant-based “chicken” sandwich called the Ranch for $8 and “chick’n” tenders for $6.50. All of the food is takeout.

With plenty going on downtown Saturday, including the finish of the women’s Stage 3 in the Amgen Tour of California, the pop-up event is expected to attract droves of foodies, many of whom aren’t necessarily vegan. The one-day event is a trial run for a concept that is expected to become a full-fledged plant-based eatery. The Burger Patch will continue serving until the food runs out.

Whether you’re a curious food lover, a vegan, a “meatless till dinner” practitioner, environmentalist or animal-rights advocate, the Burger Patch wants your business. It offers fast, full-flavored fare that will likely trigger memories of food you loved while growing up in America, according to co-founder Phillip Horn.

“For us, it’s not a mission to convert everybody to vegan/plant-based eaters,” Horn said. “Our whole mission is providing what we call ‘convenient consciousness,’ which is just the ability for people to be able to make choices that are more in line with their social consciousness, their environmental consciousness. If it’s one meal a day, great. If it’s one meal a week, wonderful. If it’s one a year – honestly, that’s a small change and nudge in a direction they probably feel really great about.”

Horn, who is vice president of ticket sales for the Sacramento Kings, is not planning to leave his full-time job when the Burger Patch launches in the months to come. His wife Danea Horn, who is working on her doctorate in agriculture and resource economics, will handle the day-to-day operations. Burger Patch is using the Beyond Burger, which is the creation of the plant-based Beyond Meat company. The idea is to be meat-free without turning off meat eaters.

“You have so many veggie burgers that crumble apart, that don’t remind you of what a traditional burger is,” said Danea Horn. “Even though you eat a plant-based diet, it doesn’t take away the craving for some of the nostalgic memories you have of going to a fast-food restaurant and getting a burger, fries and shake. We feel incredibly privileged that we get to bring the Beyond Burger to Sacramento for the first time.”

Added Phillip Horn: “They’ve got really great story, how they’ve been ‘science-ing’ this burger over the last 10 years. It really all comes down to replicating a taste that people know and love, having a mouthfeel that makes people remember a burger they grew up on, having colors and texture. They basically took a meat-based burger, reverse-engineered it, and what they found was they had every cell structure they needed to do that in a combination of different plant sources.”

Scott Ostrander, a high-profile local chef best known for his acclaimed stint at the Inn at Park Winters in Yolo County who recently launched a food and brand development consulting company, has helped with recipe creation.

During a recent tasting, Ostrander prepared the burgers on a standard restaurant flat-top griddle. He said they took about four minutes to cook.

“I’ve made a lot of vegetarian burgers, bean-based burgers and used a lot of starches to hold them together, and they’re good. But this is a better substitute in terms of people who don’t eat a plant-based diet to have approachable. That is going to really surprise people. … It’s very reminiscent of a classic burger even though it’s completely vegan.”

Blair Anthony Robertson: 916-321-1099, @Blarob

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