US (IA): Restaurant temporarily closed to plot a fast-food takeover with a vertical farm

Popular East Village vegan eatery Dirt Burger announced on its Facebook page on Dec. 6 that it closed until March 2022 for "a seasonal break and strategic growth planning." But according to co-owner and chef Christopher Place, patrons of the burger joint at 407 E. Fifth St. can rest assured that Dirt Burger will not only return in the spring, but will be part of a growing franchise of Dirt Burgers that Place hopes will help revolutionize the fast-food industry.

"The vegan burger is a vessel, but our bigger concern is how much the size of the footprint the fast-food industry has," Place said. "In our minds, I think we are responsible for the life cycle of that product." Dirt Burger co-owners Place and Shawn Chapman are using the three-month closure to reassess the future state of the restaurant that they hope will include a drive-thru Dirt Burger somewhere in a 150-mile radius from the original location — close enough that the two locations could share resources. 

More importantly, Place said, is their effort to develop a self-supporting manufacturing hub, which would supply eventual satellite restaurants with indoor vertical farms using a plant science called aeroponics.

What does all that science mean for your plant-based patties? Well, it means the ingredients to make them will be grown and harvested onsite, reducing their carbon footprint. Place said this model will also allow him to spend less on retrieving ingredients through an unpredictable supply chain — money that will go directly to employees' paychecks. 

Read the complete article at www.desmoinesregister.com.


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