Guest post by: Anna-Marie Walsh
Hip burger joints are becoming all the rage. Farm raised, grass fed, farm to table? These are culinary terms we hadn’t heard of just a few years ago. As a Vegetarian, are all these new burger joints a bad thing? Not necessarily. Back in the day, we may have visited a burger joint with our carnivore friends and if we were lucky, the restaurant maybe offered a larger house salad for us – a big bowl of lettuce with a tomato and some vinaigrette.
Slowly over time, restaurateurs began to realize that we Vegetarians have money to spend as well. Many places began to offer us a Boca Burger. You know the Boca Burger, that red carton we can buy at the grocery store and pay $4 for a box of 12 patties. Restaurants offered to serve us a Boca burger and dress it up with some lettuce and tomato for $10 a pop. You know, at least it was something. At least an effort was being made to feed Vegetarians something other than a house salad. Even Burger King began to offer a veggie burger.
Fast forward to now. Orlando is a foodie town. Diners now expect fresh ingredients, inventive recipes and reasonable prices. Even us Vegetarians. We no longer find it satisfying to overpay for frozen mass produced patties. And once again, restaurateurs are listening. Quaint little burger joints are opening all over Orlando and many are offering amazing alternatives to the beef patty for Vegetarians.
Here is a list of my favorite homemade (not frozen) Veggie Burgers in Orlando:
There are 5 Orlando area locations with more on the way. The music is loud, but the onion rings are enormous and the veggie burgers are messy but hand made. The burger is hearty, a quinoa-based patty served with cheese, lettuce, tomato and their special BurgerFi mayo-based sauce. As with most of the places on this list, any of the burger combinations offered on the menu can be made with the veggie burger patty.
Hillstone is located in Winter Park, has a great patio for watching sunsets and the most delicious kale salad ever. They also serve an incredible veggie burger made with black eyed peas. Well worth the higher price and the sometimes long wait. Even better if you order an extra side of coleslaw and add a little to the burger.
Toasted is known for serving up some comforting grilled cheese sandwiches in Winter Park. I bet you didn?t know this is a wonderful destination for Vegans as well as Vegetarians. There is an entire menu of Vegan options including dairy-free grilled cheese sandwiches and a hand crafted Veggie burger. While there are three versions of their Veggie burger, the most popular is the Viva La Vegan- a Vegan patty topped with tomato chutney and arugula. An absolute delight.
2. B&B Junction
B&B Junction took over the original 4 Rivers location on Fairbanks on Aloma in Winter Park. They have amazing fried pickles. They also have a very expansive burger menu, any of which can be made with their house made Veggie patty. The only ingredients I could get out of the staff is that the veggie patty is made with lentils, black-eyed peas, pumpkin and other spices. I?m pretty sure I was tasting a little cumin and cayenne pepper in there. The fried fennel and watermelon-jicama slaw are very tasty toppings to their veggie patty.
Located on the west side of town, That One Spot sits unassuming in a strip mall near the Twistee Treat in Ocoee. That One Spot offers two Vegetarian options- the black bean patty or my favorite- the spinach patty. The Greek Veggie Burger is delicious with spinach patties, herbed Greek yogurt, Feta cheese, red peppers, sprouts and red onions. However, don?t pass up the opportunity to try the Crunch Burger with the spinach patty. Horseradish sauce, lettuce, tomato, fried onions, blue cheese crumbles and potato chips make this a Heavenly spot for any Vegetarian.
My quest for the best Veggie burger in Orlando doesn’t end here. There are so many new places constantly opening up here that my work will never be done. Veg on my friend and eat your veggies.
About the author: Anna-Marie is the writer of The Hungry Sprout, a website about Orlando restaurants and events. A self-proclaimed brussel sprout and broccoli junkie, she is also the author of the Beauty and the Beets website, where she focuses on healthy Vegan, Vegetarian and Pescatarian cuisine, as well as travel. As a former Flight Attendant for a major airline, Anna-Marie has traveled all over the world and cites fondue in Switzerland as one of her favorite meals. She is always continuing her quest to find the best Veggie burger, whether it be overseas or in the United States.