New St. Paul, MN-based vegan restaurant J. Selby’s fast-food copycat dishes, including a vegan version McDonald’s’ Big Mac, are gaining widespread media recognition and traction among locals. The restaurant’s “Dirty Secret” is made with the help of meat and cheese from vegan shop The Herbivorous Butcher and features two “beaf” patties, coconut-oil based “cheeze,” lettuce, pickles, onions, and a dairy-free special sauce, and is served on a vegan sesame seed bun. Another copycat menu item is its “Soyclone” (or J. Selby’s’ take on Friday’s dairy-filled Cyclone milkshake), made with soy-based soft serve ice cream. “This is not a health food restaurant by any means,” the restaurant’s front-of-the-house manager Lindsey Johnston said. “We’re showing that you can incorporate plant-based foods into your diet without going out of your comfort zone.” J. Selby’s opened earlier this year to massive crowds that forced it to close and quickly re-open with more staff to keep up with demand. While millennials shun the traditional Big Mac, in recent years, several vegan eateries around the country have duplicated the plant-based version of McDonald’s’ iconic burger, including Plant Power Fast Food’s “Big Zac” in San Diego, and Doomies’ “Vegan MacDaddy” in Los Angeles.
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