Veg’d: Chef Matthew Kenney To Open Vegan ‘Fast Food’ Drive-Thru In California

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U.S.-based Michelin-rated celebrity chef, entrepreneur and author Matthew Kenney who specializes in plant-based cuisine, is set to open Veg’d, a fast-food restaurant in Costa Mesa, California with a vegan drive-thru in early May.

Founder of Matthew Kenney Cuisine and Matthew Kenney Culinary, a plant-based diet education business, Chef Kenny Kenney has joined forces with entrepreneur Christine Mulholland to open an all-new vegan restaurant in Costa Mesa where previously a Del Taco existed thus showing that the coronavirus pandemic has driven U.S. consumers towards healthier, safer and plant-based food options.

Owner of 25 restaurants worldwide, Kenney’s latest one will serve fast-food and have a vegan drive-thru on the corner of Bristol and Red Hill in Costa Mesa.

According to the company, Veg’d is supposed to be a novel way of a drive-thru, that includes being chef-driven meaning that the restaurant will have a test kitchen team working out of Venice, CA that will be constantly developing new recipes according to the fresh local produce available in the area.

In an interview with The Beet, Kenney said that Mulholland was the one who reached out to Kenney who before this was completely new to the idea of a drive-thru as he always focussed on plant-based dining.“I am very excited to have the opportunity to expand into the drive-thru market, it’s been a dream of mine. The Costa Mesa and Orange County community is the perfect place for us to begin our journey of spreading plant-based cuisine to the masses, on a grander scale than we have been able to with our sit-down dining options.”

The upcoming vegan drive-thru. Source: Livekindly

The Costa Mesa and Orange County community is the perfect place for us to begin our journey of spreading plant-based cuisine to the masses, on a grander scale than we have been able to with our sit-down dining options

Chef Matthew Kenney, co-founder of Veg’d

Veg’d will offer its diners more classic drive-thru fare such as burgers and fries, though it will also feature more healthful options like smoothies and a kung pao bowl with cauliflower, tofu and zucchini. During morning hours, the menu will include a breakfast burrito with Just Egg’s alternative, jack ‘cheese’, avocado, Tater Tots, and green chile salsa.

Apart from these, diners can order select vegan raw options that won’t be heated above 118 degrees before serving.

Plant-based burger(left) and Green Goddess Smoothie Bowl that includes avocado and spinach. Source: Mathew Kenney

Kenney plants to introducing 100% recycled packaging that can be biodegradable and compostable, with a mission to to compost scraps on site and donate leftover food.

The drive-thru will be highlighting a ‘forest smoothie’, that the founders describe as the ‘World’s first reforestation smoothie’, which will help plant and protect trees through Veg’d’s NGO partners The Orangutan Project based in Sumatra, The Borneo Nature Foundation based in Central Borneo, and Sekolah Adat, a school for Indigenous Dayak children based in West Borneo. All these organizations are using a holistic approach to handle ecological issues that includes modern science as well as indigenous wisdom to help conserve the third largest tropical rainforest on earth.

Mulhollan added: “We are so excited to be bringing this fresh, mindful new concept to the fast-food market, an industry saturated by long-standing giants that have failed to consider the health of their consumers and our planet.”

Going forward, Kenney is working on several partnerships with hotel partners and is making plans to launch new concepts in London, other parts of Europe, and expand in Australia and South America.

In an earlier Green Queen piece about vegan meat sales in the U.S. soaring by 280% “as the meat supply chain faced disruption due to slaughterhouse outbreaks and ongoing livestock diseases such as African swine fever“.

According to another report that used Google Trends to see how many people are searching for vegan food in different languages, the research found that interest in veganism reached an all-time high in 2020 as it is “twice as popular as it was just five years ago, and it doesn’t show any sign of slowing down.”

Apart from health reasons, scientists have repeatedly called for a plant-based shift in order to combat climate change and to support this, “a landmark international study warned that even if fossil fuels were to be eliminated immediately, the Paris agreement goals would still be out of reach without a drastic reduction in high-emissions meat and dairy-heavy diets.”

If you’re in Hong Kong and would like to try out some cruelty-free dining, check out this list of the top vegan restaurants in the area.


Lead image courtesy of Chef Mathew Kenney.


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