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Uptons Naturals is giving Chicago’s most famous beef sandwich a vegan makeover


This week the Buona Companies (parent company of the restaurant chain Buona) launched a vegan version of their original Italian beef sandwich. Bouna has partnered with Chicago-based vegan brand Upton’s Naturals to make the vegan seitan-based beef for their new plant-based Italian beefless sandwich, which offers a choice of hot or mild giardiniera and is served on French bread. The vegan beef sandwich is combined with a vegan Buona sauce, which was made exclusively for the start from vegetable broth, Italian spices from Buona and olive oil.

“While Buona is known for our original Italian beef, we wanted to expand our plant-based menu options to cater to the growing number of vegans and vegetarians joining their families in our restaurants. We wanted something that matched our facilities, menu choices and family recipes, which is why we decided to use our signature dish as inspiration, ”said Candice Jordan, Marketing Director at Buona. “We all thought that Uptons Naturals was the best partner for us. We wanted the sandwich to be all natural like our original Buona beef, and being local was the sauce on top. We’re excited to be one of the first multi-unit restaurants to offer an authentic plant-based Italian sandwich without bees. “

The sandwich will be on the menu at Buona’s 24 locations and will cost $ 7.99. Buona prepares the vegan sandwich separately from non-vegan products to ensure that no cross-contamination occurs.

Prepare vegan Italian beef with seitan

Buona chose Uptons Naturals Seitan for the new vegan beef sandwich because the vegan meat is able to absorb flavor while maintaining a beef-like texture. While there are tons of vegan options in Chicago, Buona’s new options allow plant-based eaters to try Chicago’s most famous sandwich.

“When vegans eat out, they crave the same variety and the same hearty foods as everyone else, just without the meat to go with it,” said Dan Staackmann, founder of Upton Naturals. “There are so many ways to serve the community of people who choose a plant-based diet that goes way beyond a vegan burger on the menu. The Buona Beef family knows we’re so happy with our seitan slices, they do it to be able to support bringing the traditional Italian beef sandwich to Chicago that is 100 percent vegan. “

While Buona will only be offering the new plant-based Italian beefless sandwich in summer 2021 (for the time being), the new vegan option has already proven to be popular and was sold out at several locations on the launch day before 12:30 p.m. After a day on the menu, Buona sold over 1,800 pounds of vegan beef and placed a double order of Uptons Naturals seitan to meet demand.

“Our goal for 2021 was to discover more plant-based options on our menu,” Jordan told VegNews. “We are definitely in the process of adding this item to our full time menu as well as other vegan sites. We focus on learning from vegan / vegetarian feedback and welcoming everyone to take a seat in our facilities, whether you eat meat or not. “



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