MRM Plant-Based: New Look for Veggie Grill and Plant-Based Pizza Toppings
9 Min Read By MRM Staff
Please send plant-based news to Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine's Barbara Castiglia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meatless Farm Goes to Restaurant Tables
The Meatless Farm Co. is partnering New York City restaurant Pomodoro Rosso. The iconic Upper West Side Italian restaurant will be the first in the U.S. to add Meatless Farm’s plant-based products to its menu. Beginning today, guests can order from the restaurant’s ‘Meatless Monday’ menu, which consists of Pomodoro’s signature italian dishes, reimagined with 100-percent plant-based ground in place of traditional meat.
Now, as part of its larger mission of educating audiences on the personal and environmental benefits of swapping out meat with plant-based meals even just one day a week, the company is unveiling its new Meatless Monday initiative by partnering with traditional restaurants across the country.
Pomodoro Rosso, which has been a local New York staple for nearly 30 years, piloted its new meatless menu with a mixed group of influential NYC vegans, vegetarians and self-proclaimed meat-eaters in early October. Based on the success of the early trial, restaurateur Peter Condouris has designed a comprehensive menu, which will coincide with the restaurant’s regular menu each Monday.
The new Meatless Monday menu will feature:
- Meatless Lasagna – Inspired by an old family recipe, Pomodoro’s lasagna has been reimagined with Meatless Farm’s plant-based ground alternative with no sacrifice to its signature taste
- Gnocchi Bolognese– Handmade gnocchi topped with a meat-free Bolognese sauce made with Meatless Farm’s plant-based ground
- Penne Bolognese – Meat-free Bolognese sauce covers freshly made penne pasta and serves as Pomodoro’s most popular vegan dish
- Classic Meatless Meatballs– One of Pomodoro best-selling dishes reimagined with Meatless Farm meat-free ground and served on a bed of spicy red sauce
- Stuffed Meatless Meatballs– Traditional Italian meatballs but meat-free and filled with Gorgonzola; topped with Pomodoro’s signature spicy red sauce
- Wood Fired Pizzetta with Meatless Crumbles– Petite pizza cooked in Pomodoro’s wood fired oven and topped with mozzarella and Meatless Farm’s meat-free crumbles
“The restaurant scene was the natural next step for Meatless Farm following our fast-growth in grocery stores across the globe. Pomodoro was an ideal partner for our new Meatless Monday initiative, and as the first restaurant in the U.S. to add our plant-based products, because of its home-like feel, family focus, and authentic and fresh Italian fare,” said Kasper Vesth, General Manager, North America at The Meatless Farm Co. “We’re driving a new way of thinking within a traditional cuisine through our products and we look forward to expanding to other cuisines and regions.”
“We’ve been a staple in the New York City restaurant community for 26 years, and we’re always looking for ways to expand our offerings and reach a wider audience. Our partnership with Meatless Farm is the perfect way to do that,” said Peter Condouris, owner of Pomodoro. “Our new Meatless Mondays not only allow us to offer more options to vegetarians and vegans, but we’re able to share with our other customers, who are meat-eaters, that substituting a plant-based alternative doesn’t have to sacrifice the taste of a dish.”
Meatless Farm is expanding into restaurants in the U.S. and Europe; this news follows the addition of its plant-based burgers to the menus of 880 JD Wetherspoon locations in the U.K.
Protein Bar & Kitchen Goes Beyond
Protein Bar & Kitchen announces Beyond Meat as a new plant-based alternative on their menu in Chicago-area restaurants. As an industry leader and authority on protein, the fast casual concept has featured plant based protein for 10+ years – serving up tofu, seasonal falafel, plant-based protein shakes and quinoa among others – and will now add Beyond Chili and house-made Beyond Beef meatballs to their line up.
Beyond Meat was selected as the plant-based partner for Protein Bar & Kitchen due to its clean label (soy free, gluten free, NON GMO), commitment to sustainability, and – most importantly – the fact that it looks, cooks and tastes like meat.
“We didn't want to rush to market,” says Executive Chef Venecia Willis. “We took our time to make sure our meatball is absolutely delicious – not only for a plant-based meatball. It’s just a delicious meatball.”
Beyond Meat is highlighted on the menu in the Healthy Parm Bowl, the Spicy Korean and Beyond Chili. The versatile plant-based meatballs may also be substituted as protein in any dish on the menu All of Protein Bar & Kitchen’s meatballs are made in-house using Beyond Beef and a proprietary blend of fresh, simple ingredients Beyond Meat will be available in Chicago-area restaurants starting November 5, and available in DC and Colorado locations early 2020.
- Healthy Parm – a new take on a PBK original entrée and cult favorite, 100-percent plant-based Beyond Beef meatballs, house-made tomato sauce fortified with ghee, spinach, organic quinoa, nut-free pesto, Parmesan, 600 calories, 33g protein, 40g net carbs, $10.99
- Spicy Korean, an existing PBK favorite, replacing steak with Beyond Beef meatballs and using a riced cauliflower base, 100-percent plant-based Beyond Beef meatballs, diced cucumber, spinach, pickled red onion, pickled carrot and sweet and spicy chili sauce, 600 calories, 21g protein, 52g net carbs, $10.49
- Beyond Chili, 100-percent plant-based Beyond Beef simmered with tomatoes, peppers, onion, charred corn and beans topped with cheddar, Greek yogurt and organic quinoa, 430 calories, 34g protein,, 45g net carbs, $8.99
Protein Bar was founded in 2009 in Chicago to provide guests with a needed oasis of flavor forward, protein-rich nourishment. Protein Bar & Kitchen now operates 19 fast casual restaurants with 13 in Chicago, four in and around Denver and two in Washington D.C.
Plant-Based More Mainstream
Plant-based category leader, Lightlife, surveyed* Americans to find that most (71 percent) of Americans believe plant-based protein alternatives are becoming more mainstream, even carnivores (62 percent) agree. In fact, 62 percent say they’ve even come to expect plant-based alternatives on menus and in grocery stores.
The survey uncovered the top factors driving consumers to seek plant-based alternatives:
- 74 percent of Americans seek variety in their diet
- 73 percent believe they can get protein from other sources, like plant-based alternatives
- 58 percent of parents say it’s to set a good example for their kids
- 55 percent say there’s a wide variety of alternatives to meat
- 40 percent feel it’s better for the environment
- 20 percent prefer the taste of plant-based meat alternatives
Earlier this year, Lightlife unveiled its answer to the evolving demand for plant- with the Lightlife fresh line and recently debuted the new Lightlife Burger on menus at Dave & Buster’s, replacing Impossible.
New Prototype for Veggie Grill
The nation’s largest plant-based restaurant brand, Veggie Grill, top photo, is unveiling fresh and efficient style features in new locations as they rapidly expand throughout the US.
Veggie Grill’s new store prototype features a farmhouse-inspired design, while keeping a modernized touch. Notable interior features include a brick veneer wall with custom artwork, Monarch dining room floor tiles with tangerine border tile, beadboard paneling, custom Millwork banquettes, booths, shelves and menu boards, hickory topped tables with driftwood-stained maple chairs, mosaic hex-patterned counter façades, Calacatta Quartz countertops and iPad ordering tables. Select locations will also offer standout al fresco dining option featuring a covered patio with heaters, fans and lighting.
The new design debuted at the recently opened Toluca Lake, California and Harvard Square, Massachusets locations, and continues to roll out in all new Veggie Grill restaurants opening across the country, including at the first-ever New York City location opening next month.
MIXT has teamed up with Impossible Foods to provide fans an exclusive, complimentary tasting of MIXT's IMPOSSIBLE™ Meatballs in a fresh basil marinara. Guests enjoyed a sample of the plant-based meatball exclusively at select locations in San Francisco, Oakland, Dallas and Los Angeles. MIXT is featuring Impossible™ Burger seasoned with achiote spice as a protein addition to any salad or as a meatball main option in its MIXT Market Plates this fall.
Opened in 2006 by Leslie and David Silverglide, MIXT started in San Francisco with a mission to bring better eating to everyone. MIXT’s chef-created selection of salads, grain bowls, and market plates make plant-based cuisine as craveable as it is nutritious.
ince the beginning of time, pizza boxes were square and the round pies inside of them were topped with meat. Not anymore. Tomorrow, October 23, Pizza Hut will introduce a limited-time test of a plant-based pizza topping served up in a game-changing ROUND pizza box. The test of both innovations will take place exclusively at one Pizza Hut location in Phoenix where America's Original Pizza Company will introduce the new Garden Specialty Pizza topped with Incogmeato™ by MorningStar Farms Italian sausage.
Plant-Based Pizza Toppings
Pizza Hut announces limited-time test of a game-changing round pizza box AND the 'Garden Specialty Pizza' – topped with new plant-based 'Incogmeato' Italian sausage – available in Phoenix, Arizona while supplies last.
"We innovate for human's sake and we'll win on taste—PERIOD. At Pizza Hut we don't do anything halfway and improving the customer experience and delivering a better tasting pizza is our core mission," said Marianne Radley, chief brand officer, Pizza Hut. "When we talk about feeding more possibilities we mean it—and I can't wait to share these two new industry-changing innovations with our customers."
Pizza Hut partnered with Zume, a company pioneering the shift to a more sustainable future of food, to design a way to put a round pizza in a round box. Not only does the round box contain less overall packaging compared to a typical square pizza box, it's also industrially compostable (where available) and interlocks easily to ensure a smoother delivery. In other words, no pizza insurance policy needed and freed up space in the fridge for leftovers. Following the event in Phoenix, Pizza Hut will look at ways to roll the box out more widely in the near future.
"This revolutionary round box—the result of a two-year journey—is the most innovative packaging we've rolled out to date," said Nicolas Burquier, chief customer & operations officer, Pizza Hut. "The round box was engineered to make our products taste even better—by delivering hotter, crispier pizzas. This box is a win, win—it will improve the pizza-eating experience for our customers and simplify the operating experience for our team members."
"Pizza Hut is an undisputed leader in its use of technology to deliver on its promise of hot, fast and reliable food," said Alex Garden, Chairman and CEO of Zume, Inc. "We're thrilled to support Pizza Hut's packaging efforts to provide its fans with a great pizza-eating experience."
Hot off the heels of last month's Stuffed Cheez-It™ Pizza launch, this limited-time test run of the plant-based Italian sausage topping marks the second venture for Pizza Hut and Kellogg. The new Garden Specialty Pizza will feature Incogmeato™ Italian sausage, onions, mushrooms and banana peppers and will be served exclusively on Pizza Hut's large, hand-tossed crust.
"Incogmeato™ is a new-to-the-world brand created to challenge convention on delicious plant based food," says Wendy Davidson, Kellogg Away from Home President. "Pizza Hut is the innovation leader in its category and we are excited to partner with them to develop a tasty, first-ever plant-based pizza to satisfy what flexitarians are seeking today."
Meatless Monday in Russia
Rosinter Restaurants Holding, the leading casual dining chain operator in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has launched Meatless Monday. Rosinter operates over 250 restaurants including major chains such as IL Patio (Italian cuisine), Shikary (Pan Asian cuisine), Planet Sushi (Japanese cuisine), American Bar & Grill (American cuisine), Mama Russia (Russian cuisine) and it also develops the international brands TGI Fridays (American cuisine) and Costa Coffee (coffee shops) under a franchise agreement.
They launched a Meatless Monday promotion with a discount on meatless orders each Monday via their delivery service. They are starting with their delivery arm with hopes of expanding into all restaurants. They identified Meatless Monday after seeing the organizaition's work with TGI Friday’s in the US, and because it fits in with their principles of conscious consumption, healthy, well- balanced diet and environmental protection.
FAT Offers Plant-Based Cheese
FAT (Fresh. Authentic. Tasty.) Brands Inc., parent company of Fatburger, said all domestic locations across America now carry plant-based, dairy-free Daiya Cheddar Style Slices.
Each dairy-free Daiya Cheddar Style Slice delivers the same incredible melt and slight sharpness as dairy-based cheese. This flavor and texture pairs perfectly with Fatburger's wildly successful plant-based Impossible Burger, or the mouthwatering, juicy burger made famous by founder Lovie Yancey in Los Angeles more than 70 years ago. As always, each burger is made-to-order with traditional toppings, along with a wide variety of tasty add-ons and condiments to select from.
“After our successful test run in our hometown, Los Angeles, we are thrilled to offer our Fatburger fans around the US a 100 percent plant-based cheeseburger,” said Andy Wiederhorn, CEO of FAT Brands. “We love incorporating today’s trends with Fatburger’s traditional fare so consumers can enjoy the Fatburger they know and love, with a dairy-free twist. With the addition of the Daiya Slices to our ever-going dairy-free menu we are able to reach a larger fan base, and we can’t wait to see how consumers across the country react to our new plant-based offerings.”
Dandies in Foodservice
Just in time for hot chocolate season, foodservice customers looking to bring vegan and plant-based desserts to the menu, Chicago Vegan Foods makes Dandies, the only vegan and gelatin-free marshmallow on the market.
Dandies are made with high-quality, clean ingredients like real vanilla and vegan cane sugar and completely free of high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and colorings, plus the common allergens gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs, corn, peanuts and tree nuts. Providing a better-for-you and allergy-safe marshmallow option for restaurants and bakeries, the innovative sweet treat is 100% vegan, all-natural, gluten-free, gelatin-free, certified kosher and Non-GMO Project Verified.