Buona, Chicago’s original Italian beef chain restaurant, debuts a new menu item—a plant-based Italian beefless sandwich featuring Upton’s Naturals seitan—specially for their vegetarian and vegan customers.
From the bread to the seitan to the veggie-based gravy and giardiniera, every aspect of this sandwich is plant-based, vegan-friendly, and prepared separately to ensure no cross-contamination with non-vegan products.
Buona opted to collaborate with Chicago-based seitan maker Upton’s Naturals to craft the perfect plant-based beef for the sandwich. Seitan—known for its versatility, savor flavor profile, and ability to take on additional flavors—is a popular source of plant-based protein and pairs seamlessly with Buona’s authentic Italian recipe. The Plant-Based Italian Beefless Sandwich provides 43g of protein and is made using an exclusive vegan gravy (consisting of authentic Buona Italian spices, a vegetable-based broth, and olive oil), their signature French bread, and hot or mild giardiniera.
“While Buona is known for our Original Italian Beef, we wanted to expand our plant-based menu options to serve the growing number of vegans and vegetarians who join their families at our restaurants. We wanted something that felt true to our establishments, menu offering, and family recipes, which is why we decided to use our signature dish as inspiration,” shared Candice Jordan, director of marketing at Buona. “We all felt Upton’s Naturals was the best fit as a partner [and] we’re excited to be one of the first multi-unit restaurants able to offer an authentic plant-based Italian ‘beefless’ sandwich.”
“When vegans go out to eat,” said Dan Staackmann, founder of Upton’s Naturals, “they crave the same variety and savory meal options as anyone, just without the meat to go with it. There’s so much opportunity to serve the community of people embracing a plant-based diet, which stretches far beyond having a vegan burger on the menu. The Buona Beef family understands that, and with our slices of seitan, we’re so happy to be able to support them bringing a 100% vegan take on the traditional Italian beef sandwich to Chicago.”
The Plant-Based Italian Beefless Sandwich will be available at all 24 Buona locations in Chicago and Indiana for $7.99 for a limited time beginning April 26.