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Last modified on August 12th, 2018 at 9:30 pm
With the recently-opened Westbound and brand-new Beaut Burger, the MSA Annex is bound to become one of Tucson’s most popular destinations.
The plant-based burger joint features a 100% vegan menu with a down-to-earth approach. The project was four years in the making, said Kerry Lane,
Beaut Burger owner and co-founder.
“My background is in macrobiotics and raw veganism, which are both fantastic for their own reasons, but I wanted Beaut to feel familiar and approachable to people,” Lane said. “I wanted to create a restaurant that was light-hearted and fun, like a picnic. There’s a reason we have Miller High Life, Coca-Cola, and French fries on the menu. I’m doing my best to make a bridge between fast food and animal-free eating.”
The recently trending Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger patties attempt to duplicate beef as closely as possible down to a pink center. However, Beaut’s house-made patty embraces the vegetable origins.
“It’s got a very long ingredient list,” said Ari Shapiro, partner and co-founder at Beaut Burger. “Just pure grains and vegetables, there’s no soy. It’s gluten-free. A lot of spices and herbs. It’s a very labor-intensive process.”
However, eaters will still have the nostalgia and experience of eating a burger.
“I wanted the patty to feel rich, satiating, and crumbly like ground beef,” Lane said.
The bun is a house-made slow-fermented English muffin, available gluten-free for $2 more. They’re cooked on the griddle as well, with the flat shape helping provide a uniform toast. The inside is a bit softer and moister than a conventional English muffin.
While the burger menu offers traditional toppings, it also features unique toppings such as pickled poblano, tamarind chutney, house-made mozzarella, and the spicy Yemenite condiment zhoug.
The Bay Cakes are Beaut’s vegetable-based take on crab cakes, served on Merchant’s Garden romaine with tartar sauce and radish sauces.
Both fries and sweet potato fries are properly executed with a crisp exterior and fluffy interior. Other sides are cold and fit more within the picnic theme — potato salad, pasta salad, coleslaw, dill pickle, veggies with Native Seeds/SEARCH Vaquero beans, and grape pecan parfait with ambrosia.
Desserts are based on what Lane grew up eating in Iowa and Nebraska: “Jell-O with whipped cream, Rice Krispies, and fruit crumbles based on whatever fruit is in season.”
Beverage options include homemade limemade, iced tea, soda, beer, and wine.
Operating hours are 11:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. daily.