The Impossible burger at Beef 'o' Brady's

All of a sudden, the Impossible burger is everywhere. Voguish vegetarian-friendly caféshistoric downtown hangouts and fast food Goliaths have all begun incorporating the ground beef replacement into their offerings. The latest to give it a go is none other than the neighborhood sports grill chain Beef 'o' Brady's, which last week began testing out the Impossible burger at its restaurant located at 4286 53rd Ave. E., Bradenton.

"We just felt like it would be a natural add-on to our menu," says Tim Macri, the owner and operator of the 53rd Avenue "Beefs," as well as locations in Lakewood Ranch and Parrish. Previous vegetarian burgers hadn't impressed Macri, but the Impossible burger won him over.

The Bradenton location is one of just nine Beef 'o' Brady's locations nationwide offering the Impossible burger. Since it rolled it out the burger last week, the franchise has sold a few dozen, with just a single customer complaint. The restaurant charges $10.49 for an Impossible burger and just $7.99 on Mondays, a Beef 'o' Brady's discount burger day.

While future plans for the Impossible burger depend on feedback and sales figures, Macri says the company hopes to offer it across all of the restaurant's 172 location early next year. One hiccup could be supply. The introduction of Burger King's Impossible Whopper around the country has outstripped the availability of the product.

Impossible is made from heme, an iron-containing molecule that, according to Impossible researchers, "is what makes meat taste like meat." The manufacturers make their ground beef substitute by inserting the DNA from soy plant roots into yeast and then fermenting it. The result is a pink-red patty that looks just like the real thing, but with zero cholesterol and a fraction of the greenhouse gas emissions needed to produce ground beef.

Beef 'o' Brady's offers four-ounce patties that are quickly seared and squashed in a bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and a smear of mayo. Cut off a hunk of a cooked patty, and you'll marvel at how the texture resemble real beef. When eaten solo, the flavor of the patty won't fool you into thinking you're eating beef, but when combined with all the condiments that make a burger a burger, it's difficult to distinguish real from fake. And while it fills you up, you won't feel bloated after wolfing one down. What's not to like?

The Beef 'o' Brady's offering the Impossible burger is located at 4286 53rd Ave. E., Bradenton, and is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. For more info, call (941) 896-3992 or visit the restaurant's website.

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