After five years of R&D and a buzzy, yearlong rollout in other parts of the country, the Impossible Burger has arrived on Long Island.
The four Long Island Bareburger locations — in Great Neck, Plainview, Port Washington and Rockville Centre — began serving griddled, $15 versions of the plant-based burgers on Oct. 18. Arooga’s Grille House in Patchogue launched a $14 version Wednesday, and Beers, Burgers and Desserts (BBDs) in Rocky Point is plating them three ways, starting Thursday — grilled, griddled or steamed.
The Impossible Burger is the brainchild of Impossible Foods, a Silicon Valley-based startup that hatched a plan in 2011 to develop a burger that mimicked meat in texture and taste — including “bleeding” like a real burger — but “uses a fraction of the Earth’s natural resources,” according to the company’s website.
The resulting burger is purportedly made from a melange of soy, wheat, coconut and potato, and gains its beefiness from an abundance of heme, an iron-containing molecule common to both animal muscle tissue and some plants. After it first began trickling into commercial kitchens in 2016, the patty has been adopted by high-profile chefs such as David Chang and Jamie Bissonette.
BBD’s Perrazzo went through about 50 pounds of ground Impossible “meat” for his Impossible testing process, compressing his own patties and honing sizes and shapes for three iterations at BBDs: A 4-ounce griddled Impossible Burger for $12, a steamed version, with chopped onions and pickles, for $10, and an 8-ounce Impossible Burger grilled over coal and fire, then served on brioche bun, for $16. “When I made the first steamed [Impossible Burger], it was delicious,” said Perrazzo. “I think it’s the best way.” Though, he added, the fired version “captures the coal [flavors] and nuttiness,” of the grill.
Bareburger rolled out its version of the Impossible Burger at one New York City location in the spring. “We needed to see how guests met with it, and what their reactions were, and if it was something we could keep on the menu past the honeymoon period,” said Anthony Roman, marketing coordinator for Bareburger. The Impossible Burger is now offered at all of the company’s 38 locations, where it has become a bestseller — but it is only served in-house, and never delivered. “People are dying for us to deliver it, but this is a new product and Impossible Burger is taking it step by step.”
Roman said Bareburger has been surprised that the majority of customers ordering Impossible Burgers have eaten meat in the past six months — meaning that scores of non-vegetarians are ordering a vegan product. “This is not a fad, and it’s blowing the lid off of the beef industry.”
While the average Impossible burger has a sharply reduced carbon footprint compared with a beef burger, it’s not necessarily a low-fat or low-sodium option: A 3-ounce patty packs 220 calories, 10 grams of saturated fat and 430 milligrams of sodium.