Whole Foods Market 365 Says “Goodbye!” to Meat Counter, Adds Vegan Restaurant!

next level burger veganThere are no fish or meat counters in Whole Foods Market’s new 365 location, but there IS a new vegan burger joint, complete with all the fixin’s!

I was invited to attend the pre-launch media event at the new 365 location in Concord, California, and couldn’t have been more anxious to check it out.  Although 365 still sells animal products, the fast-paced growth of plant-based offerings is very evident.

Representatives from vegan companies, such as Beyond Meat and Kite Hill, were on hand passing out scrumptious samples, while the staff of Next Level Burger was on hand to showcase the wide array of vegan fare at their restaurant – inside Whole Foods!

Matthew de GruyterI sat down with Matthew de Gruyter, founder of Next Level Burger, for an exclusive interview.

Jackie Day: “This is so exciting! I was actually just at your Portland location.  I ate there after I spoke at Portland VegFest.  It was delicious! So, tell me a bit about Next Level Burger! What makes it unique?”


Matthew de Gruyter:  “Sure! Next Level Burger is America’s first 100% plant based burger joint.  Next Level Burger came about because of us wanting something good for our kids.  My wife and I wanted something that was vegan, all organic and non-GMO. This wasn’t a market opportunity for us, but an extent of our passion and the way we live our lives.”


next level burger concord

Jackie Day: “
I’ve noticed that successful plant-based companies have a lot of integrity these days.  Sounds like you’ve got it, too!”


Matthew de Gruyter:  “Yes! Integrity: one of the most important, yet one of the rarest elements in business – every one of our burgers makes the world a better place inherently because it’s plant based.  I haven’t met anyone who isn’t excited about becoming healthier, but there aren’t very many opportunities to do it when you’re out.  It sounds corny, but we are actually changing the world with every burger we sling.”


next level burger fries

Jackie Day: “Sounds great! Are there plans for further expansion?”


Matthew de Gruyter: “Yes! What Starbucks did for the coffee connoisseur, we’re looking to do for those seeking an organic, vegan, non-GMO burger. We’re in the process of a national expansion”.


Jackie Day: “Fantastic! It took me a couple of hours to get here, and I’d have to take a plane to get back to your Portland location, so I hope I see more Next Level Burgers soon!”


Matthew de Gruyter: “Oh, you will!  I can’t give away too many details just yet, but let’s just say I plan on shortening your commute!”

Jackie Day:  “Awesome!”



burger at Next Level Burger


I gave Matthew a copy of my book, The Vegan Way (A complete guide to going vegan, that everyone should read! New vegans, and seasoned vegans! *wink*).  And a beautiful spread of Next Level Burger fare was brought out for me to enjoy.

A burger piled high with all the fixin’s, sweet potato fries, and an apple pie shake:  all 100% organic, non-GMO and vegan! SO tasty!

Sometimes writing about food has its perks.  This is one of em’

Next Level Burger at Whole Foods Market’s 365 is open for lunch and dinner, with 38 seats inside, and a nice open patio.

Hope to see more soon!

Jackie Day has been vegan for over 30 years and is the author of the new book The Vegan Way: 21 Days to a Happier, Healthier Plant-Based Lifestyle That Will Transform Your Home, Your Diet, and You (St. Martin’s Press / Macmillan)