Food Tuesday, StoryADay May: Babe’s Burgers of Evil

This post is part of StoryADay May ( #StoryADay #StoryADayMay @storyadaymay #freeshortstory #vegetarian #FoodTuesday @impossible_foods

Babe’s Burgers of Evil

“Good thing this is just a pop-up,” Emily said. “Because that’s the worst name for a hamburger joint I ever heard.”

Emily is my best friend, so she’s allowed to insult me. If a true friend says your idea is stupid, you know she means she thinks your idea is stupid, not that you just proved to the world that you are stupid.

“More and more people are going vegan or vegetarian,” I said. “So more and more of the people who aren’t vegan or vegetarian are getting up on their hind legs about it. So they’ll come to Babe’s Burgers of Evil and post pictures of themselves on social media digging into a big, juicy burger and I’ll have so much free publicity I’ll have to rent a bigger place for my next pop-up of it.”

“But your menu,” she said, climbing onto a ladder (I’m afraid of heights) to chalk it on a repurposed school blackboard. “Hamburger – meat. Cheeseburger – meat and cheese. Double-decker – twice the meat. Bacon burger – none, we aren’t monsters. Special – meat and fixin’s. Taco salad – ground meat and stuff. That’s crazy.”

“I know, right? You just take the orders and I’ll cook them up. If anybody asks what kind of meat, just wink and say, ‘I don’t ask.’”

Emily chuckled, because she’s as off-kilter as I am, which is one of the reasons we’re best friends.

I was right: The pop-up was a success, and the word-of-mouth was crazy. The social media was full of debate about the cheekiness and the mystery and the ethics of meat-eating and the possible sources of my ingredients.

The next pop-up was even better. Protesters started marching even before we stocked the kitchen, which brought in the news crews.

A man and a woman came in, trailing cameras and sound equipment and lighting behind them. They turned away from the camera to look into the cameras.

The woman said, “I’m an omnivore.”

The man said, “I’m a vegetarian.”

The woman said, “We’re here today at Babe’s Burgers of Evil to see if they can accommodate both of us.”

Of course, I could. I had anticipated this challenge, so I made the woman a special: a burger on a toasted bun, topped with a sprig of fresh dill, melted Parmesan, quick-pickled red onions, and sauteed mushrooms. I made the man grilled cheese and a green salad with fresh herbs and edible flowers.

They left happy, and mixed menu couples made the pop-up busier than ever.

Investors offered to back a permanent restaurant, which I turned down, because I didn’t want to disclose all the sources of all my ingredients, and because pop-ups are more fun and I can open on my own schedule.

A company called Impossible Foods offered me a month’s supply of their plant-based meat and a very favorable contract if I would add their products to my menu. I accepted, although Emily had doubts that that was ethical.

After all, Impossible Foods’ plant-based meat was the only kind I’d ever used.

MY PROMPT FOR TODAY: A swoon-worthy cheese and mushroom plant-based burger. Srsly, y’all — YUM



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Food Tuesday, StoryADay May: Babe’s Burgers of Evil

  1. Dan Antion

    May 16, 2024 at 8:05am

    This would be the type of pop-up I’d expect Marian Allen to open. It does look very good. I’ll make a small confession here, I have become very fond of a black bean veggie burger that my wife keeps on hand for the vegan fasts (Orthodox).

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  2. acflory

    May 21, 2024 at 6:03pm

    -giggles- very sneaky! I’ve been to a couple of restaurants that only served vegetarian food, and it was delicious, but I admit to not liking the plant based meat idea. I like to know what I’m eating. 😉

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