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| Republic of Arizona
Kerry Lane and Ari Shapiro have been making vegan burgers and fries in Tucson since 2018. Their little burger shop, tucked away in a shipping container at the Mercado San Agustin Annex shopping and dining complex just west of I-10 , is a popular place that is constantly packed. with families with dogs and customers stopping off after a bike ride.
Now, after seeing that customers would travel from Phoenix to enjoy the plant-based menu, the duo are opening a Beaut Burger in the Valley.
Located on the south side of Indian School Road just west of 34th Street near the Arcadia neighborhood, the restaurant will feature a small number of seats, a pickup window, and a patio. The couple are also planning to open a dairy-free ice cream restaurant next door called Bristlecone.
The new building that will house Lane and Shaprio’s businesses is still under construction, but the duo hope to open Beaut Burger and Bristlecone in January 2021.
Here’s what’s on the Beaut Burger menu
Beaut Burger’s new Phoenix location will feature a menu identical to Tucson’s. Customers will find 11 vegan burger options, ranging from a classic burger or cheeseburger, to options with roasted eggplant and pesto pepita or peanut butter and tamarind chutney.
The menu also includes a few sandwiches, salads and side dishes. Serve a hamburger with sweet or regular potato fries, served plain, spicy or sprinkled with fresh herbs.
The entire menu is completely free of animal products and, for a small additional charge, gluten-free rolls are also available.
But eating plant-based is just a bonus of those menu items, Shapiro says.
“It’s not in our branding to preach about vegan food,” he says. “We’re more interested in giving people a really good burger and fries.”
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For drinks, choose between homemade lemonade, specialty cream sodas and sparkling water. Canned wine and beer including Miller High Life, Modelo, and a few craft options are also available. A cocktail named after Tucson’s Santa Rita mountain range, made with lime, tequila, and prickly pear, is also on the menu.
While Beaut Burger’s menu may be the same as its southeastern sibling, Lane and Shapiro are bringing a new concept to Phoenix as well.
Named after one of the oldest trees in the world, Bristlecone will serve dairy-free ice cream in cups, cones and milkshakes. The dessert location will be connected to Beaut Burger on the inside but will offer separate windows on the outside.
Why Phoenix was an ‘obvious choice’ for expansion
Lane and Shapiro are committed to growing Beaut Burger slowly and intentionally. They wanted to settle in Tucson before expanding and decided to limit Beaut Burger to one location per city to keep each destination unique.
“Phoenix was the obvious choice because it’s our backyard and we know it,” Shapiro says. “In addition, making hamburgers and rolls is a very specific process, so we want to keep tight control over production.”
Initially, the couple looked into the spaces of the Watermark, a new development in Tempe, and also the Churchill, due to its familiar shipping container structure. But by wanting to open one location, Indian School Road seemed accessible to many parts of Phoenix, Shaprio says.
“The key was the centrality and accessibility of the location,” he says. “Vegetal people will drive a bit for this as long as it’s easy to get to.”
The surrounding neighborhoods also seemed like a good fit for the business and its Tucsonian roots, Shapiro says.
“We want to reflect the Tucson philosophy, supporting bikes, dogs, and plant-based eating,” he says.
The patio will have several bike racks and the menu features a vegan dog treat.
“ We were caught up in this macro-change ”
While many businesses in the shipping containers surrounding Beaut Burger have closed throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the small hamburger window was able to remain open since its model already supported take-out meals.
And demand for plant-based foods has only increased, Shaprio says, especially for locally made options.
“Whether it’s because of the pandemic and people wanting to eat healthier or have less of an impact, or all of the above, we’ve been caught up in this macro-change,” Shaprio says. “It blew a bit of wind into our sales.”
Despite the delays due to the health crisis, Shapiro and Lane are excited to move forward with plans that have been around for about a year.
“It’s a big step for me, for my partner and for Beaut,” he said, “but sometimes you get that feeling deep down that something is right. It seems right.”
Details: Beaut Burger and Bristlecone, 3301 E. Indian School Road, # 100, Phoenix. beautburger.com.
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Contact the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @tirionmorris, on Facebook in Tirion Rose and on Instagram in Tirionrose.
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