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Mr. Charlies
Melissa G./Yelp

Vegan Burger Joint Looks to Ruffle McDonald's Feathers

A new plant-based fast-food restaurant in Los Angeles is turning heads for its tongue-in-cheek branding that might seem a little, well, familiar.


Related: 25 Weird and Wonderful McDonald's International Menu Favorites


Mr. Charlie's could easily be mistaken for McDonald's if you aren't paying attention. Its storefront is decked out in red and gold, along with a very familiar smile that just happens to be upside down in a frown. There are red cardboard boxes in the window, the packaging for the restaurant's "Unhappie Meal." 


And inside, the space — and the website — is decorated with Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe image superimposed with very Ronald McDonald-like clown makeup.


Editor's note: This story has been revised since publication.



It's clearly a statement against the global fast-food giant, though owner Charlie Kim plays coy when asked about the connection, possibly under advisement from an attorney. He ate a lot of fast food as a kid, but his wife's veganism inspired him to make a change, and he wants to "do something more for the planet."


Related23 Surprising Things You Didn't Know About McDonald's


The restaurant has exploded on TikTok since it opened in February, thanks in large part to a video posted by superstar singer Lizzo. She eats an Unhappie Meal, including the lookalike fries, nuggets, and burger, and gives all of the food a resounding "mmmm."


@lizzo #stitch with @plantbasedparadise ♬ original sound - lizzo


All of Mr. Charlie's employees are from an organization that provides resources for people transitioning out of homelessness or incarceration. Between that and providing a vegan fast-food alternative, the restaurant has definitely earned some fans — but who knows how long it will remain in its current form if McDonald's gets a say. So if you want to sink your teeth into a "Not a Cheeseburger" without the immense weight of global capitalism on your shoulders, get to Mr. Charlie's soon.


Gallery: Where to Find Plant-Based Fast Food


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