food

We visit the new Japan branch of Wayback Burgers, try their vegan set, notice a big problem

9 Comments
By Dale Roll, SoraNews24

In the fierce battle of burgers in Japan, a new contender has entered the field: the American burger shop Wayback Burgers. This New England-based, fast-casual burger shop just opened its first-ever branch in Japan in the Omotesando neighborhood of Tokyo in March of this year.

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Wayback Burgers may be based out of Connecticut, but it’s a popular burger chain all across the world. With restaurants in 38 countries and a history of over 30 years, it’s no surprise that they managed to open their first Japanese branch in the upscale shopping neighborhood of Omotesando Hills. If you’re familiar with the area, you might recognize the location as the former site of a Mos Burger (a branch that unfortunately became a casualty of the burger war).

The main draw of the menu is, of course, burgers, but they also sell milkshakes and smoothies.

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Our burger-loving reporter Mr Sato didn’t wait too long to visit the new burger shop, but the prices, in his humble (but experienced) opinion, were a little on the high side. The classic burger, for example, was 1,200 yen on its own, and a set meal (with medium-size fries and a small or medium drink) was 1,700 yen. The cheapest burger was the Buffalo Chicken Burger, which was 850 yen. Those prices put these burgers among the ranks of gourmet burgers, being too expensive for the usual fast-casual fare in Japan.

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Though a major meat fan, Mr Sato has been trying to eat less meat these days, so he was grateful to see that the restaurant offered a Vegan Set, which included the Grilled Mushroom Next Burger, made of a meat substitute made by Next Meats. The slogan accompanying the burger’s listing on the menu said, “We won’t let the world end.” Mr Sato supposed that meant helping to reduce the restaurant’s impact on the environment.

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This is what he received in his Vegan Set:

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The drink was Next Milk, made from oats, and the salad was topped with Next Tuna, a vegan tuna made from soybeans. Of course, the burger, too, was made of meat substitute.

Mr Sato was most surprised by how tasty the salad was. The vegetables were crisp and fresh, and the tomatoes were some of the best he’d eaten in a long time. The Next Tuna was almost identical to real tuna in both taste and texture; you would never think it was made from soy.

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The hamburger, too, was all plant-based, even the bun, which had spinach kneaded into the dough. It was faintly green (though it’s hard to tell from the picture).

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The texture of the burger itself was much firmer than Mr Sato expected. This type of vegan meat is often somewhat bland and has a terrible texture, but this burger was completely different. It was full of flavor and completely cravable. He could really tell how far they’ve come in vegan food development, with meat substitutes and fish substitutes this good.

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So Mr Sato had no complaints about the food whatsoever. However, what he did have complaints about was the price.

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The hamburger on its own sells for 1,100 yen, but together with the Vegan Set came out to a whopping 2,300 yen. That’s a price that would make Mr. Sato hesitate to order it again in the future. That made him think: even with all this improvement in vegan food, if it doesn’t come at an affordable price, not many people will be able to eat it, so it won’t make much difference to the environment. Mr Sato believes that without doing something to lower the price of vegan foodstuffs, they won’t ever be as popular as they could be.

Luckily, more and more Japanese restaurants like CoCo Ichibanya, Komeda Coffee, and Mos Burger are offering vegan options, and many of them at more affordable prices, so maybe it’s just that the baseline prices at Wayback Burgers are higher in general. In any case, if you can afford it, Wayback Burgers’ Vegan Set is a delicious and nutritious meal, so definitely stop by and give it a taste if you have the chance!

Restaurant Information

Wayback Burgers Omotesando Branch / ウェイバックバーガー表参道店

Tokyo-to Shibuya-ku Jingu-mae 4-11-6 Omotesando Chiyoda Building 2F

東京都渋谷区神宮前4-11-6表参道千代田ビル2F

Open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. (last order at 10 p.m.)

Source: PR Times

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- We eat at Tokyo’s first vegan Japanese-style convenience store in Asakusa

-- We try NEXT MEATS meatless yakiniku: Does it live up to our meat-lover expectations?

-- We visit Japanese fast food chain Dom Dom’s upscale branch for a taste of luxury

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

9 Comments
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Many here agree with Sato-san. “Price” is “a big problem” here with burgers. No justification for it other than covering costs of retail space & location.

Price” was the least popular answer with last week’s survey here of: “what's-the-difference-between-an-average-burger-and-a-great-one”

- https://japantoday.com/category/have-your-say/what's-the-difference-between-an-average-burger-and-a-great-one?comment-order=popular

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I make my burgers at home on a grill and they are far tastier than any fast food burger. Obviously cheaper as well. It's not like you need a lot of cooking skills to grill a burger and then top it exactly as you like it.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Price should be no more than 1600 yen for Vegan and Chicken

2300 should be only for gourmet beef, mutton, boar

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@ Reckless, I agree. I always found it amusing that even though vegetarians eschew flesh they strive to make things taste like it. I once worked with a man from India who was approaching 60 and had never eaten even one bite of meat. He used to let me sample his lunch which contained no fake meat but was always delicious.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Interesting. You want to save the environment and money? Eat beans instead of meat from time to time. You also may live a lot longer.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Nippori

Without tasting your burger, i can't say, so downvoted.

I can even tell mine is far better than yours yet u can't taste my burger.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

But Omotesando is an up-scale neighborhood, so the prices are probably not a problem for them.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

I think I'll just stick to the Plant-based Whopper for my junk food treat. Much lower in price.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

There's no way I'd ever pay that much for a burger, vegan or otherwise.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

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