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The Fast And The Herbivorous

New vegetarian eateries look to disrupt the fast food industry

Plant-based diets are becoming more mainstream than ever as young people continue to seek out meals that are kind to their bodies and to the planet. At the same time, as we uncovered in the Cassandra Report: Body Mind Soul, 79% of Millennials wish there were more convenient and on-the-go healthy food options. Enter these recently opened restaurants, which have all bases covered.

Eatsa: Not only is new SF-based eatery Eatsa shaking up the fast food scene with its mission to provide nutritious, plant-based meals for less than $10, but it’s also experimenting with a virtual alternative to waitstaff. Customers order using in-store iPads or via their own phones, after which their bowls are made to order and delivered to assigned cubbies—meaning no cashiers and no lines. The restaurant is the first project of Keenwawa, a new venture-backed Silicon Valley startup that wants to disrupt the food industry by marketing protein-packed quinoa as an alternative to animal protein.

Amy’s Drive Thru: The founders of Amy's Kitchen, beloved for their line of vegetarian convenience and prepackaged foods found in grocery stores across the country, have taken their mission out of the aisle and into the streets of Sonoma. This past summer, they opened Amy's Drive Thru, one of the first organic and vegetarian drive-thru restaurants in the country. The eatery features an updated take on American classics like (veggie) burgers, shakes, and fries—all made with organic and non-GMO ingredients. It also brings the local flavor: all of their coffee, milk, and vegetables come from nearby farms.

Superiority Burger: Not to be outdone by its peers to the west, Superiority Burger had New Yorkers lined up down the block when it opened in the East Village a few months ago. The vegetarian medium fast food outfit serves up vegetarian (and “accidentally vegan”) burgers, wraps, sandwiches, and constantly changing salad specials from Brooks Headley, the James Beard award-winning former pastry chef at Mario Batali and Joe and Lidia Bastianich’s Del Posto. He’s not the only downtown New Yorker making headway in the plant-based space. The summer also saw the opening of Chloe Coscarelli’s deliberately vegan fast casual eatery in Greenwich Village, by CHLOE.