Halifax is about to get a few more options when it comes to curbside dining. Benny’s Burgers will be launching next week – the first vegan street meat stand to hit the city.
Going vegan isn’t easy. It’s not just a matter of eating more vegetables. There’ a learning curve. You need to discover cooking all over again. Suddenly you’re getting creative with yeast flakes and arrowroot. Eggplant becomes this disapproving father figure in your life that seems to be the basis of your new existence, but no matter how hard you try you’ll just never get it right. On top of all that you have to give up eating meat and cheese.
Dining out isn’t just a fun option, it can also be an amazing source of inspiration for beginners. The trouble in a lot of cities is that the options just aren’t there. While that isn’t great for vegans, for vegan entrepreneurs, like Benny’s Burgers co-founders Morgan Zwicker and Benjamin O’Toole, that’s a whole lot of opportunity.
This one is for the especially hungry vegans (don’t worry, we don’t judge). Presenting the VEGAN BIG MAC! Two juicy patties and our secret sauce make this one a must-try for any burger-lover. [📷 @plantbasedspace ] . . . . #vegan #vegansofhalifax #veggieburger #halifaxvegan #vegetarian #halifaxnoise #halifaxfood #foodiesofhalifax #veganrecipe #bennysburgers #plantbased #novascotia
Zwicker and O’Toole grew up together – they’ve played sports together, formed a band together, attended Humber College in Toronto together, and now that they’ve both been vegan for the past year they’re starting a business together. They’ve had first hand experience of how hard it is to find a decent vegan meal, especially on the go.
While the two have visions of building a vegan fast-food franchise, Zwicker and O’Toole have decided to start small. They’ll be selling a variety of vegan burgers out of a pushcart on a Halifax street corner.
“The food scene in Halifax is remarkably innovative, especially for it’s size. Halifax is evolving from a city of predominantly seafood restaurants to a multi-cultural culinary destination. Many talented and imaginative chefs are choosing Halifax as their home to set up shop,” says Zwicker.
Zwicker believes that the emergence of the Halifax foodie culture has resulted in a restaurant boom. Vegans are looking for the same gourmet experience their meat-eating counterparts get on the regular. Locals might even be prepared to get a little more adventurous with their meals, even if it means cutting out the meat.
“There aren’t a lot of vegan options anywhere. There are a couple restaurants which cater specifically to vegans, but the majority of restaurants in Halifax don’t have many vegan options. But this is all going to change, very soon.
While you can find some vegan options in Halifax, and even some great fully vegan restaurants, you can’t find many (if any) “fast-food” vegan options. We want to provide an answer for all the vegans who are on lunch break and want something quick to grab, or the vegans who are out with their friends at night (yes, we will be open late on some weekends) to find something to ease the hangover they would otherwise have in the morning.
We realize that there are currently a ton of people trying to stop eating meat for a few different reasons, whether it is personal health, animal treatment, or environmental sustainability. Our burgers are a way for vegans as well as anyone trying to reduce their meat consumption to satisfy their cravings and ease their transition. We hope to spread the message that a meat-free alternative is better for yourself, the environment, and the animals – while being just as tasty.”
Anyone who ever says there is no such thing as vegan comfort food clearly hasn’t heard of our El Grande Burger. [📷 @plantbasedspace ] . . . . #vegan #vegetarian #veggieburger #plantbased #whatveganseat #Halifax #vegansofhalifax #halifaxvegans #novascotia #Streetfood #burger #halifaxfoodies #foodiesofhalifax
Zwicker explains their trick to creating the best vegan burger might be to not think of it as a burger at all. At least, not until it’s ready. It might be entirely obvious, but ketchup and mustard won’t taste quite the same on top of quinoa and kale, or carrot and chickpeas, as they would with a bit of beef.
“Some toppings that work well on beef burgers don’t work on vegan burgers because of the contrasting flavors. Likewise, there are some interesting combinations that taste amazing on a vegan burger but wouldn’t work well with beef. It’s all a balancing act.”
Benny’s Burgers will be opening Wednesday, May 17th off the corner of Spring Garden Road and Grafton Street, across from the Black Market Boutique. For the meantime they’ll be open Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 11:00am until 2:00pm.