Famous Dave’s is testing plant-based menu options in Coon Rapids and other locations in its Minneapolis market.
“We want to offer barbecue to everybody, all different dining styles, all different eating and lifestyle habits,” Famous Dave’s culinary director Sylvia Matzke-Hill said.
These menu items are made with Beyond Meat brand plant-based meat, which Famous Dave’s advertises as “Beyond BBQ.” The vegan menu items include BBQ street tacos, Fritos BBQ nachos, BBQ bowl and a tropical burger.
The new menu items will be tested for 60 days in the Minneapolis market before the chain decides to keep all or some of the options on the menu and bring them to the rest of the stores.
The street tacos are made with corn tortillas, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and Fritos.
The nachos have Fritos, Beyond Meat, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, jalapeños and Texas Pit barbecue sauce.
“I’m partial to the Frito nachos, because who doesn’t like Fritos?” area director Dave Jackson said.
Another one of Jackson’s favorites is the BBQ bowl. This option is similar to a burrito bowl one would get at Chipotle, Coon Rapids general manager Paige Forsch said. The bowl consists of cilantro lime rice, beans, lettuce, Beyond Meat, sweet corn, jalapeños, onions and tomatoes.
Grilled pineapples, tomatoes, pickles and lettuce top the tropical burger made with a Beyond Meat patty. The veggie burger is the No. 1 seller in the Minneapolis market, which has nine stores.
As for a choice of barbecue sauce, Matzke-Hill recommends using the Texas Pit sauce, not only for its flavor, but also because it’s vegan.
“As far as variety, I think (Matzke-Hill) did a great job because we have four items to choose from,” Jackson said. “Whereas most of the places that are launching (Beyond Meat) are offering one item.”
Offering plant-based menu items, aside from baked potatoes or salad, is similar to bringing gluten-free items, Matzke-Hill said. Famous Dave’s is expanding the menu to welcome a changing demographic of barbecue fans, she said.
Each of the test entrées works as a plant-based substitute for categories within the established menu, Matzke-Hill said. She kept this in mind when planning the meals.
Instead of creating a separate vegetarian category for the permanent menu, Matzke-Hill said she wanted to incorporate the dishes into each category to be more inclusive of people’s dietary choices.
Forsch said her staff has, overall, been welcoming of the new menu options.
“It’s super different for us,” Forsch said. “The staff’s been excited about it, because it is so different.”