The Johnny Rockets Streamliner Vegan Burger

It's the Memorial Day weekend here in the US. We've got friends staying with us as part of their holiday. They came out to California for a week, and on Tuesday will be heading to Disney Land, and then off for a bit more sight seeing before returning home to the East Coast. Our friends have two kids and we thought we'd borrow them for the day to give the parents some time alone. So, what does one do with two pubescent girls? Well, if they're like most teenage girls, one goes to the mall! We didn't exactly go to the mall, but we did spend the afternoon in Old Town Pasadena, shopping and eating (same thing, no?).

And where did we eat? Why Johnny Rockets, of course. We had to try the Johnny Rockets Streamliner (their vegan burger)! First, I'm happy to report that the vegan burger is, as advertised, cooked on a separate area of the grill. It's not visibly marked off for the consumer, but we paid particular attention to this. For the entire time we were in the restaurant, the only things that were cooked on that part of the grill were the Streamliners, onions, and the buns. Johnny Rockets does indicate on their website that they use specific, color-coded implements to differentiate between what touches meat and what touches veggies. We didn't notice those (that's not to say they weren't there and being used, but we did not see any indication that separate utensils were being used for the vegan product). This isn't an issue for us, but there are a number of people who do find this off-putting in some way. So if this is an issue for you, you might want to call the Johnny Rockets you plan on visiting and ask them about this practice.

So, was it wonderful? Personally, I think the Morningstar Griller's Vegan is a better patty. But it's really great to be able to go out and have a burger and fries with your omnivorous friends and family and not feel like the odd-man-out. Our order, looked and felt like everyone else's. Maybe not the most healthy fare, but certainly a sociable meal.

As a reminder, Johnny Rockets is offering a buy one get one on their vegan burger through the end of the month. If you'd like one, just click here: Johnny Rockets Streamliner Coupon.

And in response to those of you who asked, I did not make that vegan chocolate shake for Jane that I'd thought about bringing along. It's kind of dreary here, overcast and cold, so I knew she'd be able to easily resist the shakes there and I was right! But next time we go, I'm going to have to give it a try!


  1. oh, I’m jealous–because I really like old town pasadena and it’s been a while since I’ve been there (I think I’m going to visit Cali again in a few weeks, so probably then–even though most of my time will be in the LBC) my sister (the uber nerd, lol) went to Caltech so I know the area well.

  2. Hi Sue & Chelsea,

    The burger isn’t the best I’ve ever had, but it’s also far from the worst. What makes it most appealing to us is that that you can go there and have a burger and fries, just like anyone else. The streamliner is vegan, so you don’t have to practically invent a meal with your server… It’s just easy.

    So, Chelsea, if you’re going to be in Old Town, go to Akbar (if you like Indian cuisine). The servers understand “vegan” and they’ve got a few options. They’ll even make some of the “regular” meals vegan for you. Yum.

  3. sounds like a plan. I can’t remember the name of the place I went to last time I was there but it was himalayan cuisine–and it ROCKED!!

    damn it, now I’m hungry–and it’s 12:30 at night in minnesota and I’m in bed…’s your fault. 🙂

  4. Chelsea,
    That would be Tibet-Nepal House. They’re still there, and now they offer a lunch buffet. We’re planning on giving it a try soon and posting about it. We’ve eating there during omni-life. I remember there being Yak on the menu, so I’m not sure if they have vegan fare or not. I prefer not having to make up a dish, but we’re always willing to try a new restaurant. You never know until you try, eh?

  5. yes, there’s yak on the menu–but there’s definately vegan fair…..I haven’t eaten meat in 12 years and this was just a year or so ago…I don’t completely recall, but I don’t remember there being any dairy involved in my meals (I wasn’t vegan yet)

    can’t wait to see what you think!!! I wouldn’t do the buffet though—just because no matter how good a place, buffet’s are always sub-par, as they’re done in mass batches and then sit on a warmer. and you can’t exactly “customise” for your needs on a buffet.

  6. We’ll definitely do a post on the topic. I’m not sure when, but I’d expect we’ll go in the next week or two. I really want to check it out.

    As for the buffet, I tend to agree with you, unless you get there when they just open it. You still can’t modify, but at least the food is freshly cooked!

    (not my fault if you’re still awake! 😉 )

  7. I think that people definitely need to pay attention to what goes on at the individual Johnny Rockets restaurants they frequent. After three visits to the place, in two different cities, I swore it off. The second time, I sat there and watched as they used the same utensils to press fat out of the meat burgers and to flip my burger, put my burger and bun where bacon had just been sitting, and grilled the onions and bun right smack in the middle of Meat Land. (And now, having seen that, I imagine they probably did the same thing the first time too; I couldn’t see then.) The third time, in a different city, though the violations weren’t quite as bad, I still saw my food sitting in spots were meat had just been, with no cleaning in between. Ick.

  8. Hi Stephanie,
    I guess the best way to get this changed is to write the corporate headquarters and let them know where these violations are occurring. It could also be the cook at the particular restaurant.
    When we went, we told our server, no mayo, no cheese… when he put the order in the chef instructed him that the streamliner didn’t come with those ingredients (we knew that, but we figured why take chances). We could hear her telling him to learn the menu — so, this chef knew and understood their streamliner policy.
    Jane and I feel a bit of an obligation to support vegan stuff when we find it in mainstream establishments. The more there’s a demand, the more products will be available….

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