the vuture is now

L.A. vegan pop-up drops into Houston for one day with Nashville chick'n

L.A. vegan pop-up drops into Houston with hot Nashville chick'n

Vuture Food
This crispy "chicken" sandwich is coming to town, all the way from L.A. Photo courtesy of Vuture

Houston is no stranger to pop-ups but this one's coming all the way from California, and it's bringing something vegan. Vuture Food, a food truck and restaurant known for its vegan version of the Nashville hot chicken sandwich, will do a one-day pop-up called "Plant Based Junk Food Pop Up," taking place at Astral Brewing on February 20.

Vuture — "vegan" + "future" — was founded by Dominique Villarreal, who launched the food truck in 2018 to bring plant-based junk food to pockets of Southern California where it did not exist.

"I wanted good old-fashioned greasy food, [and] there was nothing like it, at least for our specific area," Villareal told Bakersfield.com.

Originally called Evolution Burger, the truck enjoyed great success — enough for Villarreal to increase his fleet, with requests from cities outside of Southern California. Pretty soon, they were making forays up the coast to Sacramento, San Jose, and Fresno, then east to Phoenix and Albuquerque.

They recently opened a brick-and-mortar location in their hometown San Pedro, partnering with a juice shop, where they set up daily. But that hasn't stopped the wanderlust.

In 2020, they're doing a tour across the country, hitting five major Texas cities during February, then heading to Florida in March.

Vuture's most popular food item is their Nashville hot chicken sandwich, a crisp "chicken" patty topped with coleslaw, Nashville sauce, and their own plant-based buffalo ranch.

But they've grown their menu with other chicken sandwiches and loaded fries. Their latest addition is called shrimp fries, sort of like a faux-seafood poutine dish consisting of fries topped with sauce and vegan shrimp.

Their pop-ups stop most frequently at breweries, which makes sense since breweries already frequently have standing arrangements with food trucks. In Houston, they'll land at Astral Brewing in the Independence Heights area. The pairing should be a good match, given the brewery and taproom's list of West Coast IPAs. 

Their Texas dates are as follows:

  • February 20: Houston at Astral Brewing. 4-8 pm. 4816 N. Shepherd Dr..
  • February 21: Austin, for whom this is a return trip to Celis Brewery. 3-8 pm. 10001 Metric Blvd.
  • February 22: San Antonio, at Roadmap Brewing, 1-6 pm. 723 N. Alamo St.
  • February 23: Dallas, at Celestial Beer Works. 2-7 pm. 2530 Butler St.
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