NEW YORK - There’s no doubt vegan restaurants are on the rise.
Lekka Burger is nestled in the heart of TriBeCa , among many of the city’s hot spots for foodies.
“I had come up with this recipe for a veggie burger. Everybody loves burgers and I wanted to see what we could do with it and see if we could get more people on the plant-based wagon,” says co-owner Amanda Cohen.
“Lekka” is South African slang for delicious, and that’s exactly what you’ll find here.
The TriBeCa burger joint has been serving up tasty, plant-powered patties for about three months now, and business has been booming ever since the doors opened.
“Most veggie burgers tend to fall apart and we came up with a recipe that makes it so that it holds together,” Cohen adds.
If you’re lucky enough to snag a seat during lunch time, you’ll have five different burger variations to choose from, including one with vegan cheese, another with spiced curry, and even an option that offers patrons some signature South African flare.
“Once you start eating the food, it doesn’t matter if it’s vegan or not. It’s just very delicious and there are a lot of options that you have here, too,” loyal customer Jorge Coria tells us.
Cohen’s prized patty was inspired by a 1,900-year-old Chinese recipe.
She prepares the burger by blending together a mixture of mushrooms, beans, onions, garlic, and spices, but there’s something special that sets this shop apart from its competitors.
“Most veggie burgers are just kind of like baked or cooked, sometimes even fried. These are flame-grilled to get the actual texture of a burger and it even smells like a burger place in here sometimes,” chef Shannon Murphy explains.
As you would probably notice at any typical burger joint, the menu doesn’t stop at burgers.
You can order fries, either plain or with endless toppings and sauces, delicious salads, a vegan, dairy-free shake or soft-serve ice cream.
There’s even a full happy hour menu with vegan-friendly cocktails.
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“It’s like, you know, I’ve been wanting there to be a shake shack that’s delicious but healthy and with vegetables, and this is it. She created my dream fast food joint,” customer and food blogger Ted Lee says.
Cohen wants her customers to understand that what they’re eating can also impact the environment.
The decor in her restaurant echoes that sentiment:
The chairs and light fixtures are all made out of recycled t-shirts and plastic bottles.
“I think the trend is growing because i think consumers are more aware of what they’re eating and what they’re putting into their body and how it does ultimately affect the planet and so they’re making choices,” Cohen says.
In the near future, she hopes to expand her business far beyond the Big Apple.
New York, the West Coast, Canada, Europe, everywhere. anywhere that you can imagine a burger being eaten, we will be there in a couple of years,” she adds.