PLNT Burger No Longer Kosher Certified: Report

PLNT Burger — a vegan fast-casual restaurant chain from local celebrity chef and Top Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn — is no longer Kosher-certified, according to a report from YeahThatsKosher.

Washington, D.C.-based certification agency DC Kosher announced the change yesterday on its Instagram account. YeahThats Kosher reported that due to PLNT Burger’s rapid expansion, DC Kosher no longer felt comfortable providing the chain with its kosher certification.

Dear DCKosher consumers,

We are writing to share the news that as of November 1st, 2022, all @plntburger locations will cease to be under the supervision of DCKosher.

As the brand enjoys amazing success and expands, we are unable to continue to certify them.

If you have any questions please contact us at info@dckosher.org

-The DCKosher team

The first PLNT Burger location opened inside the Whole Foods Market at 833 Wayne Ave. in Downtown Silver Spring in September of 2019. Mendelsohn has since expanded the concept to several locations inside Whole Foods Market locations in the D.C. metropolitan area, as well as in Boston, New York, and Pennsylvania. The restaurant’s 12th location, a two-story New York City flagship, recently opened in Manhattan’s NoMad neighborhood.

“PLNT Burger has proven itself as the first successful fast-food chain to serve up only plant-based foods that taste as delicious as its competitors,” Mendelsohn said to VegNews in 2020. “Whereas our focus will always be on creating planet-friendly food that is accessible to everyone, our number one goal is to give our customers the best-tasting burger on the planet and for the planet.”

The restaurant features Beyond Burgers, a product of Beyond Meat that is a plant-based burger made without GMOs, soy, or gluten. Mendelsohn, a former Top Chef contestant who’s known for his burgers at Good Stuff Eatery and operates several other area restaurants, was introduced to the product by another local entrepreneur, Seth Goldman, the co-founder & TeaEO Emeritus of Honest Tea and is the executive chair of Beyond Meat.

“He slipped a little cooler under my chair at the panel and he said, ‘Take these home, grill them up and let me know what you think,’” Mendelsohn said to the Source in 2019 (who married a vegan, as it happened).

Mendelsohn liked them better than any other burger substitute he’d tried, came back to Goldman, and they began to talk about the concept of a restaurant serving Beyond Burgers.

“I realized there was going to be a conflict of interest if I became involved,” Goldman said to the Source in 2019, since he’s an employee of the Coca-Cola Co. (which bought Honest Tea) and working with Beyond Meat. Coca-Cola announced last May that it would discontinue Honest Tea by the end of 2022.

Among other people, Goldman brought in his son, Jonah (now the director of strategic marketing), who had persuaded the family to become vegetarians about 14 years ago, and his wife, Julie Farkas, as a co-founder.

“I’m the cheerleader,” Goldman said, “a very happy cheerleader. I love working with Spike and it’s been such a fun thing.”

“The idea was 100 percent plant-based, but we really didn’t want to preach that we’re vegan or vegetarian,” Mendelsohn said to the Source in 2019. “We want people to know us as PLNT Burger and deliciousness.”

Eater D.C. named PLNT Burger a “top tier vegan restaurant” last August.

Photo courtesy PLNT Burger

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