Bakersfield has a small but growing vegan community — or at least those committed to incorporating more plant-based meals. Just in time for a healthier 2019, a weekend pop-up event is coming to give the rest of the community a shot at trying a different diet.
Of course, this isn't exactly "health" food. Dominique Villarreal, owner of the Evolution Burger food truck coming to 1st Amendment Tattoo on Saturday, said that wasn't his intention when he opened in Northridge last April. With a previous venture in Mini Drops vegan ice cream, which visually resembles Dippin' Dots, Villarreal launched the Evolution truck to bring plant-based junk food to the Southland community.
"There was nothing like it at least for our specific area. There was nothing that portrayed a vegan junk food. ... I wanted good old-fashioned greasy food."
That's what the truck will deliver Saturday. While attendees can head inside 1st Amendment for vegan tattoos — using inks and aftercare products not derived from animals — they can also get their grub on with burgers and fries.
While the main Evolution Burger menu is large, with burgers (including Impossible and Beyond patties), sandwiches, hot dogs, Beyond brats and loaded fries, Villarreal said there will be fewer options on Saturday just to avoid long wait times. Along with two specials, which had not been selected as of press time, options will include a classic cheeseburger, which he recommends, standard hot dog and Evolution fries, which resemble animal-style In-N-Out fries with sliced vegan cheese, grilled onions and Evolution spread, a house-made Thousand Island dressing.
Since opening last spring, Villarreal said there have been more plant-based SoCal contenders coming up like Monty's Good Burger, with locations in L.A.'s Koreatown and Riverside.
"It's everywhere now. The real junk food scene had really taken hold."
Now Evolution has some flexibility to travel to other locations with its truck and three other smaller mobile units. Villarreal said they've gone to Phoenix and Fresno recently as well as Tehachapi (at Local Craft Beer) last week, with plans to head to Ventura and Sacramento.
He said, "We're all about getting out to the areas with low options for the vegan community."
And while some may argue we've already got some great vegan junk food — The Hen's Roost, Shake N' Buns, Guapo's Tacos, Vida Vegan, to name a few — it's nice to have more options.
Villarreal said the Bakersfield tattoo shop (and the Tehachapi brewery) both reached out to bring Evolution Burger to schedule pop-up events.
Based on the response, the truck may return for another event in the spring or possibly as a farmers market vendor.
"I'm sure the demand is there," he said.
For now, he's just keeping an eye on the weekend.
"The crew is really friendly and we're excited to come out."
For more information on Evolution Burger, visit evolutionburger.com.