A Fresh Healthy Burger - really?






A few months ago, we visited a fantastic eatery in Cape Girardeau named Fresh Healthy Cafe. We tried an array of vegan dishes that did not taste vegan. We loved the place.



The last time we were there, owner Rick Hetzel told us a tale of his new vegan burger called the Beyond Burger - he claimed it taste just like the real thing. We made a promise that we would be back as soon as his super burger was on the menu. Today we keep that promise.



Upon entering Fresh Healthy Cafe, Rick let us know that James Powell, Manager and culinary creative, was all ready for us to test drive the burger. Rick told us all about their exciting new menu item and what sets Fresh Healthy’s Beyond Burger apart from the other plant-based sandwiches. No GMOs. No soy. No cholesterol. There are no limits with this new Beyond Burger... But these are all things we’ve heard about other recent meat substitutes that have emerged - what makes this one so different?


If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck...

Rick explained, “The difference is in the people and the preparation. Who cooks it has just as much to do with healthy eating as how it’s cooked.' Rick proudly pointed out the members of his staff there that day and told me a little about them all. “Austin is a champion soccer player and distinguished athlete.” he said, “He’s also going to school to be a dietician. A lot of the staff here are…” Some of his staff members are athletes and top students at SEMO, including several future dieticians, future physicians, and future physical therapists. “It’s the people that set us apart, people like James over there who are skilled, knowledgeable, and devoted. That’s our secret weapon. With a dynamic, devoted team of young academics, all focused on well being and healthy diets.", Rick ended.


The Beyond Burger, stacked with lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, an incredible greek yogurt-based sauce with an almost magical zing, and an amazing patty of...well, they say it’s not meat...but wow! It looks, tastes, and feels so much like meat that it leaves a little grease-like on your lips. The texture is spot on. It was served with House Made Slaw (fresh cabbage & carrots - lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, and the tart and tangy hints of citrus and apple cider vinegar which was sweet, sour, and refreshing!).



James, the manager, told us the burger is 100% plant protein. He went on to explain that protein from several different plants, including peas, apples, rice, and coconut, were extracted and collected to make the patties for the Beyond Burger.


So why don’t they make all burgers out of this? Good question. I was beyond intrigued and needed to know more about this innovative idea, so I did some quick browsing and found this awesome video on building the Beyond Burger, where Beyond Meat Founder and CEO, Ethan Brown, explains more. https://youtu.be/4uGmnBunJjc


“You guys wanna try one with cheese?” James asked, noticing our burgers had already vanished. As much as I love cheese, I usually avoid it at all costs (lactose…). As if my concerns were printed right across my forehead, James said, “It’s vegan cheese, non-dairy, and lactose-free, and not like other vegan cheeses, this stuff melts and tastes just like cheese.” He wasn’t kidding! That stuff was amazing! It was creamy and savory with an intensely smokey flavor! Chao Vegan Cheese is an artisan coconut cheese alternative. A greek cheese, it’s non GMO and 100% dairy-free.


James Powell, Manager and culinary creative.

With a passion for grilling and BBQ, 15 years at McDonald's, and several years running Hamburger Express in Cape Girardeau under his belt, James knows a thing or two about what makes a good burger. “I love BBQ and grilling, that’s what I was used to working with. Yeah, we tried several different alternatives, including the Impossible Burger. We liked the Beyond Burger best because the texture, look, and the taste was so much closer to meat than the other plant-based burgers we almost couldn’t believe that it wasn’t animal protein. I never thought I’d have something like this on my plate and enjoy it. I love Beyond Burger. All of the food here, really. All that other stuff always weighed me down. It felt heavy when I was done eating. The stuff here doesn’t do that. I’m satisfied, but I feel like I can still get up and get back to it after a meal. I love it! I’ve lost 25 pounds since I started working here at Fresh Healthy.”


"...this stuff melts and tastes just like real cheese.”

So what’s next for Fresh Healthy Cafe? More locations! Rick and his lovely wife, Cheryl, will be opening a second Fresh Healthy Cafe here in Cape Girardeau


Satisfying enough to fulfill a monster craving, and light enough to keep you motivated and energized, the Beyond Burger gets 5 Gold stars from 573 Magazine.



Some other delicious things to try at Fresh Healthy Cafe.




Fresh Healthy Cafe is located in the St. Francois Medical Center in Cape Girardeau.



Written by AJ Koehler