Unsurprisingly, this first East Coast location is opening up inside a Brooklyn Whole Foods.
next level burger
Credit: Courtesy of Next Level Burger

Though East Coast versus West Coast rivalries get plenty of hype, the truth is that the people you meet on both coasts can be extremely similar. States like New York and Oregon are known for being liberal bastions full of forward-thinking, progressive types. So you probably won’t be shocked to learn that for its first East Coast location, the growing Bend, Oregon-based vegan burger chain Next Level Burger has set its sights on a hip neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Billed as “America’s first 100 percent plant based burger joint,” Next Level Burger launched in 2014 as a kind of vegan Shake Shack, now serving a variety of burgers (including the famed, “bleeding” Beyond Burger) hot dogs, fries and shakes (among other things). In the years since, the brand expanded to Portland and Lake Oswego, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and Concord, California. And next month, the chain is bringing its progressive take on fast food to another fitting locale: Brooklyn. This new Next Level Burger will be located within a Whole Foods 365 set to open in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood on January 31. According to Eater, despite the burger joint’s spot inside of the new store, the restaurant will have its own seating separate from the shopping area and food court.

This new NYC location won’t be Next Level’s first partnership with Whole Foods. Three of the chain’s other locations are also located inside of Whole Foods 365 locations. And according to an August article in the Vegan Gazette, more restaurants like these are a definite possibility. “We are thrilled to be early partners with Next Level Burger as consumer demand increases for plant-forward alternatives,” Erika Dimmler, Whole Foods Market Regional PR Director, told the site, later adding that her company “looks forward to continuing to support [co-owner Matt de Gruyter] as he guides his business to its next stage of growth.” For his part, de Gruyter suggested that he sees Next Level having as many as 1,000 units at some point. Sounds like a lot of happy cows.