Mind-Blowing Burgers: Vegan Edition!

February 14, 2024
classic vegan burger from shimmy shack outside of its food truck

Photo courtesy of Shimmy Shack

In recent years, Metro Detroit has seen a remarkable surge in the popularity of vegan burgers, thanks to innovative local businesses dedicated to providing delicious, plant-based options. From bustling food trucks to cozy cafes, these establishments are redefining what it means to enjoy a burger, proving that vegan options can be just as satisfying and flavorful as their meat-based counterparts. From patty substitutes and vegan cheeses to dropping sneaky dressings (we’re looking at you mayo), completely vegan burgers can be experienced. Let’s dive into the vibrant world of Metro Detroit’s vegan burger scene, highlighting some key players who are making waves in the culinary landscape…


255 West Nine Mile Road, Ferndale

Starting as a pop-up back in 2018 and opening in 2020, Shelly Carlisle wanted to, “bring a spark of fun to the meat-free food scene,” and she managed just that when opening Spacecat V-stro. Carlisle shares, “We are a vegetarian comfort food laboratory on a mission to create amazing flavors and provide warm and wonderful food experiences.” The menu at Spacecat V-stro is expansive and features the Black Hole and Red Dwarf burgers amongst additional American-style fare. The Black Hole patty is made from black beans, mushrooms, and lentils, and is topped with caramelized onions, garlic greens, and cheese. The Red Dwarf burger, on the other hand, is made with a red beet, rice, and lentil patty, and dressed with carrot ‘bacon’, purple cabbage, avocado, and Magic Sauce. Both burgers have the option of vegan cheese and a gluten-free bun.

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black hole vegan burger from spacecat v-stro with vegan cheese, caramelized onions, and garlic greens
Photo courtesy of Spacecat V-stro


1999 Coolidge Highway, Berkeley

For New American eats, a gastropub vibe, and a veggie burger, check out Republica. The gourmet offering is a beet burger, which includes a house-made veggie burger, spicy feta sauce, lettuce, tomato, and onion. This burger is vegetarian-friendly but can be accommodated to vegan diets without the feta sauce if you choose to forego it. Amongst the other handheld options, this burger is served with fries and can be on gluten-free bread for an additional charge. Other vegan-friendly side dishes to try include roasted broccoli or fingerling sweet potatoes with arugula. 

Closeup shot of vegetarian person hands holding gourmet superbowl lunch dish with chickpeas mint, fresh herbs and fruit at wooden table drinking organic fair-trade coffee

For even more vegan and vegetarian options, we’ve covered a range of plant-based choices here.


6529 Woodward Avenue, Detroit

Chef Que, the founder of The Kitchen by Cooking with Que, is not only a restaurateur but a culinary disruptor, aiming to reshape generational food education and experiences. Her establishment serves as a café by day and an event space by night, offering a unique blend of healthy dining options for both vegans and meat-eaters. Chef Que’s commitment to teaching people how to “Eat to Live™” through hands-on cooking classes, themed dining nights, and meal preps has made The Kitchen by Cooking with Que a cornerstone in promoting plant-based eating. “Our efforts have contributed to a greater awareness of plant-based eating throughout the country while increasing Black representation in the world of veganism,” Chef Que explains. As far as vegan burgers go, the Oh Kale Yeah burger is exceptional. Chef Que takes a Beyond Meat burger, and tops it with sautéed kale and mushrooms, vegan cheese, mayo, tomato, and pickle, all on a pretzel bun, and serves it with a side salad. 

oh kale yeah vegan burger on a pretzel bun with tomatoes, red onion, pickle, and mushroom
Photo courtesy of The Kitchen by Cooking with Que


22018 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn

Unburger Grill specializes in burgers, as the name suggests, all of which have plant-based patties. The signature burgers are all made with Ultimate Beef patties (which are meat-free) and served on freshly baked buns. Whether you’re in the mood for something spicy, smoky, or savory, Unburger has a burger that will satisfy your cravings without compromise. The Classic, for example, has two patties, ketchup, mustard, diced red onion, and dill pickles, offering a great option for those wanting a traditional burger without committing to the meat. The other burger options, like the Garlic Mushroom Melt and the Chipotle Black Bean, are also excellent, but make sure you ask for them without the cheddar cheese for a fully vegan experience.


For a 100% vegan, gluten-free, sassy, 1950s-themed diner experience, Shimmy Shack is the food truck to find. For 11 years, Shimmy Shack has been a trailblazer in the vegan food truck scene. With a menu boasting handmade burgers, topped with all the classic fixings, Shimmy Shack has proven that vegan food is anything but boring. “Our classic burger is handmade from lentils and brown rice topped with melted veg cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, ketchup, and mustard. Our southwest burger is made from black beans and topped with salsa, guacamole, and lettuce,” shares Debra Levantrosser, affectionately known as Shimmy Mama. The commitment to creating delicious, healthy options has not only garnered a loyal following but has also placed Shimmy Shack among the top vegetarian food trucks in the country. Keep up with Shimmy Shack on social media to see where the truck will be popping up next. 

classic vegan burger with a vegan patty, vegan cheese, lettuce, tomato, and pickles
Photo courtesy of Shimmy Shack


316 South Main Street, Royal Oak

Ale Mary’s Beer Hall might be best known for its extensive beer selection, but the vegan menu is a star in its own right. There are a variety of vegan burgers to choose from, made with Impossible Burger patties, which can be substituted for black bean burgers. The avocado burger is topped with veganaise, sliced tomato, FYH provolone, lettuce, and fresh avocado, while the McMary has vegan 1000 dressing, McClure’s pickle chips, romaine, and FYH provolone. Regardless of which burger you choose, it’ll pair perfectly with any of the brews available. 


27799 Woodward Avenue

Vinsetta Garage, a classic car-themed restaurant, might not be the first place you’d expect to find a mouthwatering vegan burger, but they’ve embraced the challenge with gusto. The Vinsetta Garage has a couple of ways to accommodate vegan diets. It calls for a bit of creativity, but the EV1, which comes with a house-made vegan patty can be made vegan by removing the mayo, adding vegan cheese and a pretzel bun. It’ll still feature coal-fired tomatoes, arugula, and shiitake bacon. Any of the other burger options can have the patty substituted for a vegan patty instead too, and of course, changing up the cheese options and removing anything else on the burger that isn’t vegan-friendly.


200 South Main Street, Rochester

Nestled in the heart of Downtown Rochester, Chomp, is a family-owned cafe. While the menu isn’t fully vegan, it does house a nice-sized plant-based menu including burgers, sandwiches, nachos, and quesadillas. For a traditional option, go with the Impossible Burger, with vegan cheddar cheese, sautéed onions, mushrooms, lettuce, and tomato, all on a pretzel bun. For something a little different, select the SPQB, which has a roasted sweet potato and quinoa burger, topped with avocado, cucumber, sprouts, arugula, and tomatoes, on a whole-grain ciabatta. Pair either of those with one of the killer smoothies or raw juices, and you’ve got yourself a winning meal.

This article has been updated to include new information. The original article was published on January 17, 2023, and was authored by Briana Dixon.