The vegan movement has reached a critical tipping point. Case in point: the abundance of vegan options in fast-food restaurants. We have the easily veganizable Impossible Whopper at Burger King, the Epic Beyond Burrito at Del Taco, and Polloless Pollo at El Pollo Loco. That box has been checked. Enter the era of all-vegan fast-food chains. It’s not just Veggie Grill anymore. Plant-based drive-thrus and multi-location fast-casual eateries slinging vegan beefy burgers and fries are cropping up across the country, and we are here for it. Before you cruise through the drive-thru of a Carl’s Jr. to order a Beyond Famous Star (hold the mayo and cheese), check to see if one of these vegan fast-food chains is nearby. 

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Native Foods

Native Foods

This fast-casual chain originally leaned more toward healthy bowls, salads, and sandwiches, but since its founder chef Tanya Petrovna sold the restaurant in 2012, the menu has steadily swapped out much of the greens, grains, and beans for stacked burgers and one-off fast-food specialty items (cue the Brunchie Munchie waffle-sausage-egg-and-cheese sandwich). Patrons can still find some of Petrovna’s original creations in the form of the Taco Salad or Twister Wrap, but those looking for a more savory spin can opt for sweet potato fries, buffalo chicken wings, and a BBQ Brisket Burger. Local tip: get dessert. The oatmeal creme pie and peanut butter parfait have outlasted the sweeping menu revisions and are the cherry on top of your vegan meal.
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Amy’s Drive Thru

Amy’s Drive-Thru

Before you order everything off the menu, we must note this is the one vegetarian chain on this list. However, as a Northern California highway staple since 2015, Amy’s Drive-Thru was a pioneer in the (mostly-vegan) fast-food scene. Amy’s offers both double and single patty burgers served with dairy or vegan cheese along with loaded chili fries, milkshakes, and pizzas. Customers can also drive by for burritos, entrée salads, macaroni and cheese, and a rotating menu of soups. Anything—including the mac—can be made vegan upon request. SoCal residents: get excited, because Amy’s is venturing out of its Bay Area bubble and planting a drive-thru in Orange County and Los Angeles in 2022.  
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Plant Power Fast Food

Plant Power Fast Food 

Commonly referred to as “Plant Power” by locals, this burger chain launched in San Diego and made its way north. It now has nine locations stretching from San Diego to Sacramento, some overtaking former non-vegan drive-thrus. Expect a streamlined menu of vegan burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, nuggets, fries, and a few entrée salads for those in search of fresh options on-the-go. 
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Next Level Burger

Next Level Burger

The name of this bi-coastal chain really spells it out for you—they do burgers, and they do them well. Next Level Burger operates under the goal of becoming the future wave of fast food—where customers eschew animal products for equally delicious plant-based fare. Many locations are planted inside or adjacent to a Whole Foods Market, though stand-alone spots exist as well. Yes, of course get a burger, perhaps even a Clucker bucket of chicken and crinkle-cut fries, but the Next Level Shakes are … well, you understand. 
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Slutty Vegan

Slutty Vegan

Founder Pinky Cole has established an empire in the greater Atlanta area with her Slutty Vegan concept. The menu of burgers, fries, and chicken sandwiches is sure to raise an eyebrow—both for the names and the over-the-top nature of each item. The fully loaded Super Slut and Philly cheesesteak-inspired Hollywood Hooker are just two examples of what you’ll find here. Expect juices to be running down your forearm and the corners of your mouth dotted with Slut Sauce by the end of your meal. 
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HipCityVeg

HipCityVeg

Get your vegan fast-food fix from morning to night at this East Coast vegan chain. The menu spans classic breakfast sandwiches layered with sausage, egg, and cheese to handholds, fries, and shakes for the lunch and dinner crowds. Protein options range from Beyond Burgers to tempeh and grilled portobello mushrooms, so there’s something for everyone. When browsing the menu, give the chick’n sandwich section some thought—this place does vegan chicken right. 
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Burger Lords

Burgerlords

Go for the vegan burgers, stay for the 2,000 Island Sauce. This Los Angeles microchain went full vegan in 2020 and now offers a menu of plant-based cheeseburgers, fries (both loaded and plain), messy not-burger sandwiches, and tahini milkshakes. Its popularity has soared since it made the switch, prompting the owners to set up a Goldbelly account and sell burger kits nationwide. There’s no drive-thru, but direct shipping seems like a more convenient option anyway. 
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Ifyourhangry

PLNT Burger

Looking for Top Chef quality food at a fast-casual price? Check out PLNT Burger next time you’re in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC. The vegan fast-food chain was founded by chef Spike Mendelsohn—an alum of the Bravo hit culinary competition show, Top Chef. Expect Beyond Meat patties gussied up with guacamole, Follow Your Heart cheese, caramelized mushrooms, jalapeños, and other flavor-bomb toppings. Compliment your handhold with thick sweet potato fries (Bloomies), a PLNT chili bowl, and a tall cup of dairy-free soft serve. 
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Meta Burger 

Meta Burger

Small but mighty, this Colorado microchain serves an award-winning burger. Ranked as the Best Vegan Burger by HappyCow and voted Best Plant-Based Burger at the SEED Food and Wine Festival, the nation needs more Meta locations. The housemade patty is just one part of the delicious whole—the thoughtful toppings really put this chain into the winners circle. For example, the popular Flatiron Burger features the homemade patty, shaved Brussels sprouts, shallots, grilled mushrooms, and vegan gouda cheese. Add a side of waffle fries and extra sauce, and you’re in for a fantastic fast-food meal. 
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Odd Burger

Globally Local/Odd Burger

This Canadian chain is crossing the border! Soon, New Yorkers will get a taste of this popular fast-food fare. Rebranding as Odd Burger, the menu spans the late-night cravings of burgers, chicken sandwiches, and soft-serve sundaes. The first Odd Burger is set to open late summer 2021 in New York City. 
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Project Pollo

Project Pollo

Project Pollo owner Lucas Bradbury wants to make chicken-based fried chicken irrelevant. It’s a big undertaking, but he’s starting big—that is to say, in Texas. To date, Bradbury has set up five locations in San Antonio and two in Austin, converting meat-loving Texans with his crunchy, juicy, and succulent vegan fried chicken sandwiches, tenders, and even salads. If the chicken doesn’t hook you, he’s betting the mac and cheese, papas, and fried pickles will. 
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Monty’s Good Burger

Monty’s Good Burger

Joaquin Phoenix fans, keep your eyes off your phone while waiting in line at Monty’s—the vegan Academy Award winner has repeatedly been seen at the Koreatown location with fiancé and actress Rooney Mara. Positioned as the vegan In-N-Out, Monty’s menu offers a streamlined selection of single and double Impossible burgers, fries, tots, milkshakes, and a kale Caesar salad. 
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VEG’D

Matthew Kenney Cuisine

Celebrity vegan chef and restaurateur Matthew Kenney started with fine dining, but he’s recently found his footing in fast-food fare. While his more casual concepts operate under different brands (HUMBL, New.Burger, and VEG’D), they all fall under the Matthew Kenney Cuisine umbrella. Each features a slightly different menu but you can always rely on finding a solid burger, fries, and sweets. 
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Cate Furman

Veggie Grill

Founded in 2006 in Irvine, CA, this national vegan chain was frying up plant-based chicken wings way before it was a thing. In fact, Veggie Grill predates the buffalo cauliflower trend. There’s a comfort that comes with a visit to Veggie Grill—you can take any omnivore, treat them to the mac and cheese, Sante Fe Chicken Sandwich, and sweet potato fries, and know that they’ll walk away with a positive perspective about veganism. 
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Mas Veggies Taqueria

Mas Veggies Taqueria

An offshoot of Veggie Grill, this quick concept emerged as a carryout and delivery-only chain in 2020. The chain offers veganized versions of Mexican-esque fast-food favorites including burritos, bowls, nachos, and tacos. You choose your protein (mushroom asada, chickin’ tinga, etc), and the rest is loaded up with guacamole, pickled red onions, sour cream, beans, and other accouterments. 
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Tanya Flink is a Digital Editor at VegNews as well as a writer and fitness enthusiast living in Orange County, CA.

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