By Susan Payne
No actual honey. More than burgers.
A California restaurant is on a mission to make plant-based food more appealing to the public while saving the planet with its bee-centric branding.
Honeybee Burger, located in Venice and Mid City, Los Angeles, was launched in 2019 by a group of passionate entrepreneurs with a history of operating and investing in food businesses.
Conceived by Adam Weiss, an early investor in another vegan concept called Café Gratitude, Honeybee launched pre-pandemic, but fell under heavy restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Having found success despite those challenges, Weiss plans to open another location in New York this fall, serving New Yorker the best plant-based alternatives to traditional fast food.
“After doing research and investing in (the vegan) space for years, I believe Honeybee is the restaurant that people need as their introduction to veganism. Not only is it better for the animals and the planet, but it’s also better for you, too.”
With Honeybee making its mark in California, Weiss wants to help lower the stigma on veganism, increase the popularity of plant-based alternatives and help the alternatives become a fixture in the community, from schools and hospitals to catered events for the likes of Netflix and others.
“There aren’t a lot of vegan options in LA with as low of a price point, especially in Venice,” he said.
Customers of Honeybee aren’t typical vegan foodies, although the restaurant has won hearts across review pages online. The restaurant serves a range typical of American fast food: burgers, sliders, fried chicken sandwiches, nuggets, shakes and sides without a single animal byproduct.
Its most popular burger, awarded VegNews’ best vegan burger in LA, is the Honeybee, is made with a Beyond Meat or Impossible patty, house sauce, house-made onion jam, lettuce, tomato, a thin ribbon of onion and house-made pickles.
Another favorite, the Queen Bee, is a double patty, double cheese, double delicious version of the Honeybee that can be made with the same vegan patty, or one of each.
The Chick-A-Bee is Honeybee’s best-selling “chicken” sandwich served Buffalo or Nashville Hot style. Honeybee also has a rendition of popular fish filet sandwiches, Baja fish burritos and several different breakfast sandwiches, which have proven to be very popular.
Honeybee’s milkshakes – also vegan – are made from Ripple, a pea-protein alternative dairy company that chose Honeybee to launch their amazing frozen dessert. Shakes come in four different flavors from strawberry to oreo.
Honeybee customers can try out new and innovative brands and products from the likes of Ripple and Daiya, a plant-based cheese company, and Nowadays, a plant-based chicken nugget company.
“We are a very good point of exposure for companies that make innovative vegan products that can be sold in restaurants like Honeybee. We sell amazing plant-based food that you will swear is real,” Weiss said.
The natural resources required to make plant-based alternatives are a fraction of their animal counterparts. In fact, just by choosing a plant-based burger over a cheeseburger, you are saving thousands of gallons of water, using less land reducing your carbon footprint, Weiss said.
As for the honey bee itself, no honey is available at the burger stop for good reason.
“We are constantly trying to raise the awareness of how important the honeybee is. Honey isn’t vegan, but the insect is iconic and important to our ecosystem and agriculture,” Weiss said.