Denver’s newest vegan spot, Meta Burger, at 7950 East Mississippi Avenue, is the creation of two former Native Foods colleagues and friends looking to serve a simple, meat- and dairy-free menu with low prices. Meta Burger co-founder Michael Reeves saw that the sandwiches were always the more popular items while working at plant-based chain Native Foods, rather than the restaurant's “fancy bowls.” Reeves decided to embrace this for his own business. The result is a small menu filled with American classics: well-made burgers, hot dogs, shakes, fries and sides.
Instead of listing a ton of menu options, Reeves and co-owner Matt Coates just want to do a handful of dishes right. Specialty burgers include basics such as the Classic, with cheese, pickles, lettuce and tomato, as well as amped-up varieties like the Supernova, with a tasty and spicy habanero jam, cheese, pickled red onions, tomato and lettuce.
All burgers start with a vegan soy patty designed to emulate the texture of meat, or you can opt for a soy-free garden patty. Build your own burger with a variety of toppers, like crispy onions, grilled mushrooms, caramelized onions and pickled jalapeños, or add accompaniments along the lines of cream cheese, Thai peanut sauce, mac and cheese, bacon and grilled pineapple.
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For the dogs, you can get an iconic Chicago-style dog (meat-free, of course) with tangy sport peppers, relish, onions, pickle, celery salt, yellow mustard and tomato, or a chili cheese dog with nacho cheese and homemade chili. The base for the mac and cheese sauce is eggplants, something the two friends stumbled on when experimenting for their own Super Bowl snacks.
For dessert, soy-based ice cream serves as the base for creamy chocolate, strawberry, peanut butter and vanilla shakes, as well as Meta Blasts, soft serve with sweet treats swirled in.
Coates says the goal is to be a place that’s different than other vegan options in Denver. The two main qualities setting them apart, says Coates, is the price point and the quick service. Coates says you’ll get your food in five to eight minutes and can easily take it to go. Burgers start at $6.49 and dogs at $4.99. The owners note that the low prices have already made Meta Burger a spot where customers come in multiple times a week for fast comfort food.
Meta Burger is located at 7950 East Mississippi Avenue and is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day but Sunday, when you can stop in from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 720-535-9727 or visit the Meta Burger website for more details.