by ALEXZANDRIA MARTINEZ
Beaut Burger, pronounced b-yoo-t, is taken from the Australia/New Zealand slang for “beauty.” It also should stand for “hidden gem for vegans.”
Beaut Burger is located in the Mercado San Agustin Annex, 267 S. Avenida del Convento.
The restaurant itself is an old train shipping container on the West side of the plaza that has been re-purposed. In fact, all of the small locally owned businesses inside the district are all located in re-purposed shipping containers. The plaza is an extension to the Mercado San Agustin District. MSA Annex is open from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily.
The plaza was something I’ve never seen before. When you walk in, you’ll notice flag signs for each business.
Beaut Burger’s dining area offers an outdoor experience while eating, but there’s also an “indoor” setting as well. The indoor setting is basically a booth shaded with air conditioning. In the winter, the restaurant offers heat for the indoor setting as well. Strings of light hang from the ceiling, and the atmosphere is comforting and has a rustic vibe. It’s a place where you can take your friends and family. Vegan or not, it will get your taste buds a new experience.
Beaut Burger also offers happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. daily, which includes half-priced beer and wine.
Beaut Burger is an all plant-based vegan restaurant, and the ingredients are also gluten-free friendly.
“Everything we make here is from scratch,” said Will Wallace, 41, the head cook for Beaut Burger. “Nothing comes in bags or boxes; our products are all fresh. The owners really wanted to make sure that we guaranteed freshness to our vegan menu.”
Beaut Burger offers nine different burgers. There’s the obvious classic “cheeseburger,” but Beaut burger offers a selection of different flavors such as pickled poblano, smoked tomato aioli, caramelized green peppers and chipotle mayo, as well as unusual flavors such as peanut butter, tamarind chutney and zohug.
Beaut Burger also offers its take on crab cakes and potato and sweet potato fries that you can add spicy or fresh herb seasoning to, as well as other classic fried finger foods that will go perfectly with your vegan burger. The restaurant also offers its specialty homemade limeade, to which you can add prickly pear flavoring.
I tried the No. 4 ($7.25), which was basically the vegan alternative of the classic mushroom Swiss burger. The prickly pear limeade ($3.30), which was tangy and refreshing, and the sweet potato fries with spicy seasoning ($3.45) was my favorite. There was just enough spiciness with a touch of sweetness, which paired perfectly with their homemade ranch.
Beaut Burger offers an unusual experience for vegans and vegetarians in Tucson. It’s an option that a lot of people appreciate and can enjoy a burger just like everybody else without the hassle.
In fact, Ari Shapiro, 51, who co-owns the restaurant with his wife, wanted to give vegan and vegetarian customers the same type of experience like any type burger place without worrying what they can and cannot eat off the menu. This also includes the idea that vegan food cannot be as enjoyable as the regular fast food place.
“I think the main things we are proud of is perception vegan and vegetarian is,” Shapiro said. “It’s not all extreme where you eat wheatgrass. We wanted to go all out for the experience they get from visiting fast food, but with no animals. Me and my wife were real particular, and it took us years to develop a menu, which happens to be great.”
As a vegetarian myself, there was this type of relief, knowing that my food would not be cooked near or with animal products. The service was fast and the quality of food was just as great as any fast food restaurant.
Vegans and vegetarians will appreciate the thought of knowing where their food came from at Beaut Burger. It’s an everyday option for vegans and vegetarians in Tucson.
“Our customers are always so ecstatic about that’s there’s a vegan burger place, everyone always leaves happy,” Wallace said.