No Bull: Secrets of the veggie burger sisterhood
"We've been eating these our wholes lives," says Elizabeth Raymond, talking about her mother's veggie burgers in the small commercial kitchen on East Market Street. "And we've talked about doing this for a long time."
Last year, Raymond's mother, Crissanne, a local caterer for many years, recruited Elizabeth and her sister Heather to launch No Bull Burger. Using a recipe inspired by the memory of her own mother's lentil soup to make the patties, Raymond and her girls began shopping the veggie burgers around to local restaurants and chefs they knew. The idea of a full-time family business, however, took some time to take root as both daughters had already embarked on their own careers– Heather has a thriving massage therapy practice, and Elizabeth had just completed her master's in education and planned on being a teacher.
But the family legend of those veggie burgers that they'd loved since childhood, and hearing praise from friends and relatives, made them question those career plans.
"I kept thinking,'what if we didn't do this?" says Elizabeth. "We might miss out on a big adventure." She flashes a big smile. "So far, so good."
"The Farmer's Market got us started," says Heather. "We started selling them there and people went crazy."
Word spread fast.
In addition to being available in many local restaurants and most local grocery stores (Rebbeca's, Food of All Nations, The LunchBox Express, who'll even deliver them, etc.), No Bull Burgers are available in two Virginia Whole Foods stores and six grocery stores in Richmond. Online orders have come from as far away as Arizona and California, and this weekend they make their first sales and marketing trip to Washington, D. C.
For now, they employ two grill cooks and a part-time secretary, and package and deliver everything by hand, but it's clear they have grander ambitions.
"People have begged me for this recipe for years," says Crissanne. "We know it's now or never to make this happen."
The burger, built on a foundation of organic lentils and barley, features carrots, spinach, onions, free range eggs, tamari sauce, and other goodies. And it's a hearty burger. A Hook reporter tried one; and it was a meal, a tasty one.
"This has been a great place to start this business," says Elizabeth. "The buying-local thing is very important to us, and there's such a good community here for that. Everybody has a big heart, and everyone wants you to do well."Read more on: No Bull Burger