This month, celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn—an alum of Bravo’s popular reality series Top Chef—opened the seventh location of his PLNT Burger restaurant inside of a Whole Foods Market in Alexandria, VA. Mendelsohn created the concept after Seth Goldman—the former Executive Chairman at Beyond Meat—introduced him to the vegan Beyond Burger, which he saw as better for people, animals, and the planet. PLNT Burger offers an indulgent array of Beyond Burgers topped with Follow Your Heart vegan cheese, mushroom-bacon, and guacamole, alongside Beyond Meat-based chili, Beyond Sausage-stuffed hot dogs, and vegan chicken sandwiches made with crispy oyster mushrooms. 

To celebrate its opening, PLNT Burger hosted a socially distant event with special guest Tracye McQuirter—a public health nutritionist and author who recently launched 10,000 Black Vegan Women, a program to help Black women achieve optimal health through a plant-based diet. “Among PLNT Burger’s core values is our desire to democratize plant-based food by offering delicious burgers as an entry point into eating plants,” Mendelsohn said. “We are thrilled to be opening each new store with purpose and intention, and to celebrate Tracye and her 10,000 Black Vegan Women’s program.”

The Alexandria location features an oat milk-based chocolate milkshake, the Tracye O’Tasty, that McQuirter helped to create. “I’m so excited about this collaboration,” McQuirter said. “PLNT Burger’s mission to help us ‘eat the change we wish to see in the world’ is something I also feel strongly about. I believe we have the power to take back control of our health, save the planet and help the animals by choosing plant-based foods every day.”

Mendelsohn opened the first PLNT Burger location in 2019 in Silver Spring, MD, and has since aggressively expanded the concept to restaurants in Washington, DC, Wynnewood, PA, Colombia, MD, and McLean, VA. All PLNT Burger locations are practicing health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including disinfecting work surfaces, requiring staff to wear face masks, offering contact-free pick-up (and delivery), and pre-packing condiments and drinks for individual use.