Yeah! Burger, the popular burger restaurant on the Westside, reopens at 5 p.m. today with a 100-percent plant-based menu. The Howell Mill spot opened in 2010 and closed in April 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Founder Erik Maier and president Kelly Wallace Ruddell seized the opportunity to revamp the menu to better reflect their sustainable, eco-friendly vision.
“When I opened Yeah! Burger, grass-fed beef was the most sustainable option. Fast forward a decade, it’s not as sustainable as people thought—it’s not carbon neutral or negative. Couple that with the fact that [red meat has classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a probable carcinogen] and meat consumption is a large contributor to global warming,” Maier says. “We wanted to maintain the ethos of being an environmentally friendly restaurant. We can best do that by being plant-based.”
The menu is completely free of GMOs, including the beer and wine. In addition to cholesterol-free Beyond burgers with various toppings, there’s faux-meat chicken, hot dogs, and fish sandwiches all made with soy, pea protein, or wheat protein. Veggie burgers are comprised of walnuts and beets or red peas, carrots, and zucchini. All of Yeah! Burger’s produce is organic, including sides like crispy Brussels sprouts, flash-fried cauliflower, and Napa slaw. Fries, tots, and onion rings are available, too.
“We want to serve food that’s healthier for our customers, as well as the planet and the environment,” Ruddell says.
Although Yeah! no longer offers a build-your-own option, its diner-inspired menu is clearly marked to indicate which items are gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free. This includes all-day breakfast items such as sausage, egg, and cheese sandwiches, chicken biscuits, and everything bagels with cream cheese. Pair it with Counter Culture coffee, Walker Brothers kombucha, or various organic juices. There’s also oat milk and coconut-based shakes and soft serve—matcha and vanilla swirl, anyone?
“Even if you’ve never had a plant-based meal in your life, you can come and enjoy it and not know that you’re even eating something different,” Ruddell says.
The Yeah! space has been renovated, too. Diners will notice refinished wood, new tile, and updated furniture. “It’s more colorful with a retro vibe,” she says.
“The idea behind Yeah! has always been something to celebrate. We think this is even more so,” Maier says.