Let’s play a rapid-fire round of Word Association. Quick! What comes to mind when you think of vegan cuisine? It’s likely that you’ve conjured up plates of leafy green vegetables, cubes of white tofu, and flimsy black bean burgers.
Nina Paletta and Meghan Shaw, co-owners of Street Beet, winner this year for Best Pop-up Restaurant, sought to change that perception. Instead, the duo developed recipes for plant-based takes on fast-food favorites. A pop-up series dubbed Vegan Taco Hell catapulted the rising stars to success with vegan versions of Taco Bell’s Crunchwrap Supreme, which substituted crushed walnuts and lentils for ground beef, and Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes topped with cashew nacho cheese.
No fast-food joint was left behind. Soon, Street Beet would churn out gluten-free SB Griddle Sandwiches — an impersonation of McDonald’s McGriddles — Filet-No-Fish sandwiches made of tofish filets, Pizza Butt Stuft Crust Personal Pizzas with walnut Italian sausage, and deep buckets of Kentucky Fake Chicken. And in the height of the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich craze, the Louisiana Kitchen met its vegan match: the Fried Fake Chicken Sando.
Today, Paletta and Shaw have expanded their empire to include a line of vegan sauces for topping your own fast-food cravings at home.
Find them, and the rest of the award-winning menu, inside of Detroit’s Third Street Bar.
For more information, visit streetbeetdetroit.com.
See who else made this year’s Best of Detroit list — our annual reader voted poll of the top things, places, and people in the metro area — here.