Aug 9, 2023 - Food and Drink

Top Eats: Mr. Charlie's plant-based "Frowny Meals"

Photo of a red to-go fast food box that says "Mr. Charlie's" in yellow at top with a yellow frowny face below and the words "Turn that Frown Upside Down" sitting on a yellow table.

For those who want a plant-based fast food experience with a theme, Mr. Charlie's has you covered. Photo: Rachel La Corte/Axios

I flew in from Seattle Monday for Axios San Francisco's anniversary event and when searching for quick vegan lunch options near my hotel, was happy to find a spot just a few blocks away: Mr. Charlie's.

Details: Located across the street from a McDonald's on Sutter Street, Mr. Charlie's is the antithesis of those golden arches.

  • Instead of Happy Meals, you pick a "Frowny Meal" — one of three Impossible burger options or a "Not a Chicken" sandwich — plus Impossible "Not Chicken" nuggets, fries and a drink.
  • Otherwise, you can go a la carte.

I arrived on the the first day of a new promotion they were running: "Not a Hamburger Monday" — where you can get a basic burger (standard price: $6) for 99 cents (limited to two a customer, in-store orders only).

  • I went that route plus fries and a drink, which, Megan can confirm, I inhaled quickly.
  • I'm a fan of the occasional Impossible or Beyond Meat burger, and this one hit the spot.

Price: My total was $9.49, before tax and tip.

  • Full "Frowny Meals" range from $15 to $19.99, and the a la carte menu spans from $5 for fries to $9.99 for their version of a double cheeseburger.
A photo showing yellow illuminated lights in the shape of a frowning face on a window. Below the lights are fake cows looking out the window. Across the street is a McDonald's logo.
The fake cows in the window at Mr. Charlie's gaze at the McDonald's across the street. Photo: Rachel La Corte/Axios

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