The nationwide Impossible Burger shortage has reached Atlanta. Local burger empire Grindhouse Killer Burgers reports “sporadic outages” at its five restaurants across Atlanta and Athens. Owner Alex Brounstein encourages those seeking the meatless wonder that “bleeds” like the real thing to call ahead to ensure the faux burger is in stock.
“We apologize for the inconvenience and understand we have some big Impossible Burger fans,” Brounstein says in a prepared statement. “Stay tuned and stay strong, the menu offering should be available on a regular basis very soon.”
The Atlanta-based burger chain sells around 500 Impossibles a day between its five locations, and plans to offer it at its two Atlanta airport stalls this summer — or once the shortage crisis subsides. For now, those seeking a meatless alternative can order the veggie burger made with black beans, chickpeas, quinoa, onions, and carrots.
Grindhouse claims to be the first restaurant to bring the Impossible Burger to Atlanta in 2016, which is made from water, plant proteins, coconut oil, and heme — the yeast fermented molecule that provides that meaty taste.
Impossible Foods, the California-based creator of the faux meat product, sent a letter dated April 10, 2019 to food suppliers informing them a shortage was on the horizon and could last through May. This letter followed a week after Impossible’s partnership announcement with Burger King. In addition to Burger King, Impossible Foods serves over 7,000 restaurants around the country.
“We are facing short-term ramp-up challenges resulting from demand greatly outstripping supply,” an Impossible Foods spokesperson says. The company recently hired more staff and installed a second production line to replenish the Impossible “meat” supply.
Brounstein, who fears the shortage could last at Grindhouse through mid-June, isn’t alone in his frustration over the Impossible burger deficit. Tim Sykes, managing partner of Ruby’s Cafe in New York City, told Eater in April after his supplier US Foods ran out of Impossible product, “[It’s] super frustrating. I’ve never had a product where I can’t get it anywhere.”
New York City vegan cafe Delice & Sarrasin tried to purchase “extra stock” to cushion themselves for the eventual shortage, but was told there simply wasn’t enough to go around for everyone.
It remains to be seen just how long the Impossible shortage will last here in Atlanta and around the nation.
Grindhouse Killer Burgers has locations at Sweet Auburn Curb Market, in Piedmont Heights/Ansley, Grant Park, Decatur, Athens, and two stalls at Hartsfield-Jackson International airport. The restaurant also plans to open a location in Brookhaven on Apple Valley Road in early 2020.