Veggie burgers become much more than meatless patties thanks to the ingenuity of Twisted Plants’ owners Arielle and Brandon Hawthorne. What started as a food truck now has its first brick-and-mortar location in Cudahy, with a second outpost in Milwaukee’s lower East Side coming soon.
The duo’s culinary endeavor initially began in 2019 after Arielle decided to eliminate poultry, red meat and dairy products from her diet. As she started figuring out how to make vegan versions of meals which had previously been personal faves, it quickly became apparent her options for eating out in the greater Milwaukee area were also pretty limited. So the Hawthornes have continued to develop and expand their business concept to specifically fill a void in the city’s culinary scene.
The first fixed locale of Twisted Plants is located just off the main through street—East Layton Ave—in Cudahy. Since the buzz about this herbivore burger paradise spread with such fervor, Arielle and Brandon are weeks away from opening a second onsite dining spot on Brady Street. “Expanding to the inner city gives us an opportunity to reach more people and grow our customer base,” Arielle says.
Being one of only a handful of exclusively plant-based restaurants in Milwaukee has already earned these Black entrepreneurs a bit of notoriety. And the consistent quality of eats they’re now known for maintaining five days a week certainly lives up to all the hype. The menu may be small, but it is mighty. No one is leaving hungry when an appetizer like This Is The End—a basket filled with crispy waffle fries with sizeable dollops of queso, barbecue jackfruit, chipotle ranch, guacamole and jalapeños piled on top—is merely the starter course.
But don’t be surprised if suddenly struck by a strong desire to keep munching. The stoner-themed menu and décor is meant to encourage folks to unabashedly chow down, which is why the Next Friday and Friday After Next burgers come stacked with one to two extra patties wedged between grilled onions, pickles, tomato, lettuce and melted slices of American cheese. And Up In Smoke is maybe the most tricked-out sandwich to ever drop in “the 414” (area code). The combo of two distinct sauces, smoked veggie bacon and fried onions makes this burger one of the best bites priced under $20 in the metropolitan region.
Also, even if beyond stuffed, there will be zero regrets about taking dessert to go. Shakes are made with vegan ice cream from local, small-batch scoop shop, Scratch. Strawberry Banana, Chocolate Caramel Fudge and Lemon Crunch Cake are each as decadent as the names suggest. So simply commit to sampling a different one each visit because there’s little reason to doubt you’ll be a repeat customer.
To learn more about Twisted Plants, visit www.twistedplants.com.
Photo credit: Rachel Werner