Shaking It Up
Burgerville's cheap and organic fast food is changing the way people eat on the run.
If healthy fast food seems like an oxymoron, you haven't been to Burgerville, a chain of 39 Pacific Northwest fast-food restaurants. Burgers here ($1.09) are made from local grass-fed and antibiotic-free beef. The eggs on breakfast biscuits ($1.89)? They're from cage-free hens that have never been treated with antibiotics. Salads are more Chez Panisse than McDonald's: mixed greens topped with smoked salmon or Oregon hazelnuts ($5.29). Even desserts and sides rely on seasonal, local ingredients-blackberry milkshakes are only available mid-summer, as are the hand-cut buttermilk-battered onion rings made from onions grown in Walla Walla, Washington.The family-run company also derives 100 percent of its electricity from wind power, recycles used canola oil into biodiesel, and last year began offering its hourly employees a $15-a-month health-care plan. Though Burgerville's commitment to high quality food and sustainability hasn't boosted prices-the average check is $7-the company is making money. Since 1995, sales have increased by four to eight percent annually.LEARN MORE burgerville.comSOUNDS DELICIOUS Looking for a Burgerville near you? Sadly, CEO Tom Mears has no plans to expand beyond Washington and Oregon.