Every so often, even dedicated vegetarians crave a burger ... or maybe you’re eating out, want something a little healthier than the typical greasy burger. Here are restaurants in Lexington that serve tasty vegetarian burgers, based on my personal taste-testing and a lot of crowd-sourcing.
If you are the kind of person who feels “If it doesn’t have meat, it isn’t a burger” then don’t worry, all of these places have great “real” burgers, too.
▪ Alfalfa Restaurant, 141 East Main, is the only Lexington restaurant with the Impossible Burger on its menu. The Impossible Burger is plant-based (made from wheat, potatoes and coconut oil, according to Impossible Foods) but you’d be hard-pressed to tell it. It tastes and smells pretty much like a prime burger, and looks like one too. Give it a try at Alfalfa’s Burger Week Wednesdaythrough Saturday. The restaurant will be featuring three to four different versions each day with funky and international flavors. The most popular combinations will end up on their permanent menu, according to owners Cameron and Kevin Heathcoat. I’ve had this one and it was a little dry but very good. Likely to become my go-to veggie burger.
▪ Sidebar Grill, 147 North Limestone, has a really popular black bean burger that’s made from scratch with red onion and bell peppers. Tasty. Suggested by many people on Facebook as their favorite.
▪ Lexington Diner, 124 North Upper, also was recommended by many. The diner will substitute a black bean pattie on any of its inventive burgers (such as The Jive, with tomato, pickled onion, basil pesto, fresh mozzarella and balsamic drizzle, a Taste of the Bluegrass winner) for no extra charge.
▪ Stella’s Kentucky Deli, 143 Jefferson Street, has a terrific lentil burger. A reader suggested adding Kenny’s cheese and dijon. The only thing is Stella’s has such great specials I usually end up getting those instead of the burger. But it’s a good fall-back option.
▪ Carson’s Food and Drink, 362 East Main, has a housemade cauliflower-quinoa patty that can be subbed on any of the burgers on the menu. But this is another place I never get past the fantastic salads and specials.
▪ Minton’s, 760 North Limestone, has a made-from-scratch lentil and black bean burger served with sautéed onions and spinach on top.
▪ Smithtown Seafood, 501 West Sixth, has the “superfoods” burger made with quinoa, ground up black-eyed peas, tofu, herbs and spices and topped with spicy slaw and pickled banana peppers. Yum. Or, if you just can’t make up your mind, there’s the Beef Well-ington Burger, which is half beef and half mushrooms.
▪ Sage Rabbit, 438 South Ashland Avenue, has a burger made from ancient grains on the lunch menu.
▪ Lynagh’s Irish Pub, 384 Woodland Avenue, has the O’No’Round, a black bean version of the popular O’Round. Comes topped with salsa or spicy mayo.
▪ Wild Eggs, 3735 Palomar Center and 1925 Justice Drive, has a wild mushroom burger that I’ve heard is amazing. But I never get past the omelets at that place.
▪ Ted’s Montana Grill, 2304 Sir Barton Way and 120 Summit at Fritz Farm, has a housemade veggie burger that’s supposed to be good.
▪ BurgerFi, 391 Rose Street and 141 Rojay Drive. The veggie burger here is another one that’s virtually indistinguishable from a great meat burger, called the Beyond Burger. There’s also a vegan version and the VegeFi Burger, so you’re really spoiled for choices. And they have great shakes and concretes.
▪ HopCat, 410 West Short, also will let you sub their chipotle black bean burger in for meat. And then there are the aptly named Crack Fries to go with it ... get the cheese sauce. Trust me.
Janet Patton: @LexGoEat