Vegan Burger at Citizen Burger Bar in Charlottesville, VALet me just start this post with this: I hate beets. I have had several people tell me I am really missing out: “I could make beets for you and you would love it.” It’s never happened.

I was really excited for a new dining option on the mall and even happier to see they had a vegan option (vegan bun is available too). My excitement soon waned as I learned Citizen Burger Bar uses beets, along with quinoa and millet, for their vegan patties. Bold move, very bold. Beets are such a hit or miss item, I was surprised the folks at Citizen went for it.

I did not like it, not at all. I knew it wasn’t working on the first bite, gave it a second try, found it to be inedible. Literally didn’t touch it again. Being worried about the strong flavor of the beets, I added avocado and mustard thinking they would cut the flavor. It didn’t work and I was very disappointed. To add to it, I ordered a side salad, and was again disappointed. I was served a large portion of iceberg lettuce (really, with all this great local produce??), one small tomato cut in half, and a few cucumber
slices. I eat a lot of salads – it’s one of the easiest and cheapest things to prepare – and Citizen can do a lot better.

What I did like: The atmosphere is great. Finally someone was able to tackle such a large space and make it feel good. LOVE the large subway tiles as a backsplash in the exposed kitchen. I will say, being seated in the back close to the open kitchen was very warm and we heard way too much snickering and shenanigans from the kitchen staff. Nice to know folks are having fun at work but it was very
distracting.

Truffle Fries at Citizen Burger Bar in Charlottesville, VAI also really liked their fries. I am not much of a fry fan to begin with but cheated a bit on the vegan diet to try the truffle fries – covered in parmesan and chives and served with rosemary aioli. Really good, and worth the cheat. One of my dining companions ordered sweet potato fries with her burger (which she said was really good) and they were also tasty – sweet and cooked just right so they were soft in the middle. I may have enjoyed a little salt to go with the sweet but still, the taste was great.

My husband loved the beer selection and was happy to see not only the options available but also the number to choose from.

Alas, I was hoping for more in a healthy burger option and walked away feeling disappointed, and hungry. As far as feeding the burger craving, in the future I will be making the trek to Boylan Heights for their amazing vegan burger. It’s a lot to live up to.

Jed says: “As a fan of beets, I’m going to have to disagree with this one. I don’t know about the vegan patty as a substitute for a regular patty, but the ‘Kinda Vegan’ combo on the menu is maybe my favorite veggie burger in town. It looks grotesque, but the beet base adds a juiciness to the quinoa’s softness, and is nicely brightened up by the tarragon veganaise. Kelly and I may need to do a vegan burger cage match between Boylan and Citizen, though I can’t deny that she’s bringing a lot more vegan experience to the ring…”