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Chicago’s Buona Launches Plant-Based Italian Beef at Stores Nationwide

The vegan beef product is now available in the frozen section at select Whole Foods, Fresh Thyme, and Jewel-Osco stores nationwide.

Chicago-based seitan maker Upton’s Naturals teams up with Buona—Chicago’s original Italian beef chain restaurant—to launch a new vegan product. The plant-based Italian beef is now available at retailers nationwide.

From Temporary Vegan Sandwich to National Retail Product

As Chicago’s original Italian beef chain restaurant, Buona has been a part of the city’s culture for 40 years. Last year, the restaurant chain launched its first vegan option—a plant-based Italian beefless sandwich made with Upton’s Naturals’ sliced seitan. While the sandwich debuted as a temporary addition to the menu, it sold so well that it became a permanent item.



A fan of that sandwich? Then the new plant-based Italian beef retail product deserves a place in your freezer. Made with the same ingredients as the sandwich, the Plant-Based Chicago Italian Beef & Gravy is available in the frozen sections of select Whole Foods, Fresh Thyme, and Jewel-Osco stores nationwide for $7.49.

The vegan beef marinades in a custom-made, savory gravy. The gravy boasts vegetable broth and olive oil to mimic the juiciness traditionally found in beef fat. It is an original Buona family recipe that contains oregano, garlic, and pepper. And the dish packs a massive 36g of protein per serving!

Upton’s Naturals: A Chicago Vegan Favorite

Upton’s Naturals is another Chicago-based company that has been serving the city for close to 20 years. The vegan natural foods brand is known primarily for its flavored seitan. But it has expanded its product line in recent years to include flavored jackfruit, hot dogs, soups, and mac ‘n’ cheese.

Aside from providing vegan products to retail stores, Upton’s Naturals also runs two restaurants in the Chicago area. Liberation Kitchen is a fully vegan restaurant offering gourmet donuts, hot dogs, soft serve, and vegan bowls. The Updog Stand is an ode to traditional Chicago hot dog stands—but veganized, of course! The stand offers vegan hot dogs with endless toppings, hand-cut fries, and fresh cookies.

For more information about Upton’s Naturals, visit UptonsNaturals.com.

Cayla White


Cayla has been writing for VegOut since 2020 and has been plugged into the LA vegan food scene since Veggie Grill was pretty much the only vegan restaurant in the city. Aside from writing articles, Cayla enjoys embracing their inner 85-year-old by listening to classical music, making playlists for their friends, and staying active through swimming, hiking, cycling, and yoga. In their free time, Cayla likes writing poetry, learning about outdoor survival and alternative lifestyles, and is always searching for the best loaf of sourdough bread.

Must-have products: Trader Joe’s Tangerine Juice, Miyoko’s Vegan Butter, Chef Hak’s Plant-Based Caesar Dressing, Primal Kitchen Buffalo Sauce

Articles by Cayla

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