Red Bird Vegan will open on South Grand in Tower Grove South this summer

Red Bird Vegan will open at 3117 S. Grand Blvd. in Tower Grove South in late June or early July. The restaurant will serve plant-based breakfast sandwiches, burgers, chicken sandwiches, milkshakes and more.  

The restaurant is opening in a 3,100-square-foot space that previously housed a Jimmy John’s location, and will offer walk-up counter service with space for up to 50 dine-in customers. Customers will also be able to order online both for pickup and delivery.

Owner Jessica Johnson described the concept as a “fast food plant-based restaurant.” In her career working in healthcare, Johnson said she has seen people getting “sicker and sicker” due to poor diet and nutrition. On the other hand, she has also worked fast food jobs and understands the convenience and accessibility that fast food chains provide. 

Johnson is making it Red Bird’s mission to offer an alternative. “A lot of people eat fast food every day, and I’m just like ‘OK, how do I find the solution to help?’” she said. “I’m not the doctor, but to just help them with obesity or things of that nature, to get them back in balance.”

Johnson said switching to a plant-based diet has “changed my life.” She said people who are thinking of changing their diet need to know that they can still eat the foods they like to eat, but tweaks like switching red meat for plant-based options can make a difference. “If you still want a cheeseburger, we can do a cheeseburger a little bit healthier,” she said. For her part, she said she’s adapted her love of milkshakes to embrace plant-based varieties. “They taste the same,” she said. 

Red Bird’s breakfast menu will include sandwiches such as a plant-based take on a steak, egg and cheese bagel. “The steak is made with vital wheat gluten, and it tastes just like steak,” Johnson said. Another sandwich will be a plant-based twist on a sausage McMuffin, and there will also be a tofu scramble, pancakes and more. 

For lunch and dinner, there will be burgers, chicken sandwiches, beef sandwiches and occasionally fried chicken – all plant-based, of course. Johnson’s favorite plant-based shakes will be on the menu, using almond- and cashew-based milks, and there will be vegan cheesecakes for dessert, as well as smoothies, bubble tea and lemonade. 

Red Bird will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., offering breakfast, lunch and dinner service seven days a week. Johnson said she feels it’s important to send the message that an alternative to unhealthy fast food is always available. “McDonald’s is open seven days a week,” she said. “We want to get people as healthy as possible, so we have to be open seven days a week.”