The signature burger at America’s first vegetarian drive-through has more calories than a Big Mac

“The Amy” burger.
“The Amy” burger.
Image: Tony Webster via Flickr, CC 2.0
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Vegetarian, organic, and gluten-free don’t necessarily mean healthy.

Take, for example, Amy’s Drive Thru, a meat-free fast-food restaurant in San Francisco that is reportedly starting a chain in Northern California with the hopes of expanding nationwide. Its menu is filled with organic, locally sourced, and GMO-free ingredients, and plenty of gluten-free and vegan options.

Its popular, signature burger, “The Amy,” stacks two veggie patties, two layers of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and the restaurant’s secret sauce between two thick buns. It clocks in at a whopping 770 calories, 40 grams of fat, and 1,440 milligrams of sodium, according to Paste Magazine, which reviewed the restaurant in 2015.

That’s roughly the equivalent of eating one and a half Big Macs at McDonalds. The fast-food juggernaut says its signature burger, which also has two layers of meat and cheese, lettuce, pickles, onions, and a secret sauce, has 540 calories, 28 grams of fat, and 950 milligrams of sodium.

The Amy, Paste asserts, is far more delicious, though.

Amy’s Drive Thru would not confirm or deny the nutrition facts for Quartz. It said its goal is to make sure everyone “gets a great meal suited to their needs.” It isn’t a chain yet, so it doesn’t have to publish calorie counts on its menu. It will if it grows to 20 US locations or more, according to US Food and Drug Administration guidelines. The restaurant is owned by Amy’s Kitchen, a California-based food purveyor that sells family-style, frozen meat-free meals such as meatless pepperoni pizza and organic vegetable chili nationwide.

But while meat-free and “natural” food isn’t always low-calorie, there’s no reason to assume people who buy vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free meals are only looking for healthy choices. They’re as entitled as meat-eaters to have a fast-food craving, and a nice, juicy “burger,” no matter the calorie count, could be just the thing to satisfy it.

Feature image by Tony Webster via Flicker, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.