Living Vegan In Charlotte, NC – Easy Vegan Recipes – Vegan Restaurant, Product, and Cookbook Reviews

Burger 21 Restaurant Review (The Plant Based/Vegan Options)

Impossible Burger and Fries at Burger 21

Yesterday, my work team decided to treat our boss to lunch for her birthday.

The chosen location was Burger 21, a fast casual a.k.a. “counter service” restaurant in Ballantyne. As you’d expect from the name, the joint specializes in burgers. Mostly beef burgers, but also chicken burgers, turkey burgers, tuna burgers, and shrimp burgers. They do have two plant-based options.

My counter service person was very friendly and very knowledgable about the food! Management, give this girl a raise because she is awesome!

Plant-Based Option Number 1 – Black Bean Burger $7.99

This burger is a black bean veggie patty with avocado, cilantro cream, red onion, sun dried tomato aioli, pico, lettuce, tomato, and a wheat bun – 718 calories. Be aware that this option is not vegan. The patty contains egg, plus the cilantro cream and aioli have dairy and/or egg. The wheat bun is vegan, though. If you want to cut calories, you can order this in a lettuce leaf wrap.

My beautiful coworker Cassandre models the Black Bean Burger in a lettuce bun. Some of you might have liked a close up of the burger, but trust me, Cassandre is prettier.

Plant Based Option Number 2 – Impossible Burger $10.99

An Impossible Burger patty with lettuce, red onion, and tomato, in a brioche bun – 474 calories. The brioche bun contains honey, so if you’re vegan you’ll want to swap that out for a wheat bun or a lettuce leaf.

My burger was … fine. It was a more or less typical Impossible Burger, nothing notable about it other than it seemed a little small. (Big enough for me, but not as big as in other restaurants and probably not nearly big enough for some men, like my little brother Piller.) Perhaps if I’d spent more time at the condiment bar I could have jazzed it up. Don’t get me wrong, the burger was good – just not outstanding. Nothing to set it apart from all the other Impossible Burgers out there. (And to be honest – I prefer Duckworth’s and yes, Burger King!) Still – happy to have this as an option!

Be Aware Side Items Are Extra

Side items will add another roughly another $3-$4 to your meal! The vegan side items:

  • French fries (shoestring cut)
  • Sweet potato french fries (shoestring cut)
  • Lattice chips (waffle fries)
  • Tater bites (tater tots)

Vegan Sauces:

Burger 21 has a “sauce bar”.

The vegan sauces are:

  • BBQ
  • Buffalo
  • Caramel Soy
  • Guac
  • Ketchup
  • Pico
  • Relish
  • Thai Ketchup
  • Yellow Mustard


Ah, the item of last resort for many vegans. If you get a salad, I’d suggest the Sonoma Valley Salad – mixed greens, bleu cheese crumbles, grapes, candied pecans, strawberries, grape tomatoes, and raspberry walnut vinaigrette. It’s currently $7.49 in Charlotte and vegan if you ask them to hold the bleu cheese crumbles.

The two vegan salad dressings:

  • Fat Free Balsamic
  • Raspberry Walnut


Sorry, no vegan desserts!

Overall Opinion:

Burger 21 is a GREAT option for group events (like my work team luncheon) when you are likely to have a diverse mix of people – omnivores, plant-based, vegans, people following keto diets.

The condiment bar is also pretty cool.

Since it is fast casual/counter service, you can also expect it to fit in roughly with everyone’s lunch hour. Get your team back to work on time, or meet an omni friend for lunch.

But would I go there on my own? Or with my vegan or plant-based friends? Probably not. While my burger was fine, it was small and expensive –$15.03 for a burger, fries, and ice water! (The Impossible Burger is not included in their $9.99 “Lunch Steals.”)

For roughly the same price, I could get an Impossible burger and fries at a full-service restaurant or brewery – and enjoy a better atmosphere and being waited on! Or, for $2 more I could go to Burger King with my partner and get two (bigger) burgers, two orders of (better) fries, and two sweet teas or sodas.

Or, I could step away from the Impossible and get some more original burger creations at sit-down restaurants, each offering their own unique atmosphere. A Jalapeno Cheddar Burger and side from Bean for $11.99 (prob my all-time favorite veggie burger), an Om Burger and side from Fern for $13, or a Fire and Brimstone Burger and side from Living Kitchen for $12.

Please Note: Prices are for the Ballantyne location in Charlotte, NC (as this is a Charlotte-based blog). Prices may vary in different locations and states.

P: 704-900-5645

MON-THURS: 11AM – 9:30PM
FRI & SAT: 11AM – 10PM
SUN: 11AM – 9PM

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