Yes, you can eat a delicious, satisfying burger without a side of guilt, without wrecking your diet, and with the benefit of wholesome nutrition. Making it even better is that these burgers are absolutely divine. Now, I’m a carnivore at heart, and it takes a lot for me to call a veggie burger divine, but step closer and let me whisper four words to you: Arlo’s Bac’n Cheeze Burger.
Arlo’s Food Truck (900 Red River, Austin, TX 78701) has earned the top spot in Austin’s veggie and Vegan burger world. Arlo’s is nirvana for Vegans searching for a way to get a burger fix, a decadent, delicious, seared into your memories forever fix. The housemade patty is lentil & millet-based, gluten-free, and a religious experience. It’s topped with seitan bac’n, melted cheese, juicy tomato slices, purple onion, crisp lettuce and mayo, ketchup and mustard. This burger is the one you feed your friend who doesn’t believe anything Vegan can taste good. It will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that forgoing animal products, even temporarily, can result in a meal that will rock your world. This is the burger that your out-of-town Vegan friends will ask for, time and again, when visiting our city. Bonus: tots, fries and/or sweet potato fries. Arlo’s is open Monday – Friday from noon – 2am, and Saturday & Sunday from 6pm – 2am. Follow them on Twitter, and like them on Facebook. *Edit – an earlier version of this post described the patty as soy-based, when it is soy-free. The marinade for the delightful and decadent Bac’n does include soy sauce.
Hat Creek Burger Company (various locations North, Central and West) will keep you coming back for more with their Grain Burger. The patty is made by local company Hot Dang who, with a bit of magic, wild rice, cashews, and navy beans turns out a stellar product. This is a veggie burger that can hold a sear, for a delightful crispy edge similar to beef patties cooked on a flat top. Hat Creek’s Grain Burger, a side of freshly cut fries and a chocolate shake is a little bit of veggie heaven on a plate. Bonus: small-batch, craft-fermented pickles. Hat Creek is open Sunday – Thursday from 7am – 9pm, Friday & Saturday from 7am – 9:30pm. Follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook, and drool over their Instagram pics.
Bouldin Creek Cafe (1900 S. 1st St., Austin, TX 78701) offers up a burger that will leave you content and languid, so satiated that you need a nap, the Veggie Royale. On nontraditional grilled ciabatta bread, the thick patty has heft. This is a burger that feels good in your hands. Simply dressed with red onion, lettuce and tomato, glam that burger up with a slice of cheddar-jack and a healthy slug of housemade chipotle-pecan pesto. You will not regret it. Other sauce options include barbecue sauce or basil aioli. Bonus: dog-friendly patio, gluten-free menu. Bouldin Creek is open Monday – Friday 7am – midnight, and Saturday & Sunday 8am – midnight (kitchen closes at 11:45pm nightly).
The Jackalope (404 E. 6th, Austin, TX 78701) is all about a good time, and a good time can’t be fueled on $2 domestic tallboys alone (during happy hour). It calls for soaking up a night on Dirty 6th with a spicy black bean burger topped with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion and a generous amount of chipotle mayo, on a whole-wheat bun, no less. Bonus: 2-for-1 burgers on Wednesday nights, 5pm – close. The Jackalope is open daily, 11am – 2am. Follow them on Twitter, and like them on Facebook.
24 Diner (600 N. Lamar, Austin, TX 78703) has the phenomenal Betsy’s Veggie Burger, with a surprising color: red. Made with beets but not overtly beet-y, this burger is savory goodness between a pain au lait bun. Beets, mushrooms, rice, lentils, pumpkin seeds and golden flaxseeds come together to make one unforgettable burger. My friends who’ve eaten it without paying attention to the list of ingredients are shocked to learn that beets are a central component. Bonus: if you’re craving breakfast, their veggie sausage patty is to die for as well. Follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook, drool over their Instagram pics, and pin them on Pinterest.
Looking for more good eats? The 2015 City Guide has recommendations for Austin’s best food and drink.