Name: Liz Migliore
Business: Jersey City Veggie Burgers
Location: Jersey City/East Orange, New Jersey
Specialty: Veggie burgers!!
The problem your business solves: We make veggie burgers that appeal to non-vegetarians and aim to provide restaurants with a high-quality vegetarian option.
What makes your business unique: Our burger recipes are inspired by world cuisines and comfort food favorites. Wholesome ingredients and bold flavor come first!
How you got your start: I began my business after seeing my vegetarian husband eat one too many bland veggie burgers. I was struck by the irony that while veggie burgers have a healthy reputation, many are heavily processed and full of sodium. I saw a gap in the market for a wholesome, flavorful veggie burger. My first recipe, the Sweet Potato Collard Green burger, was inspired by a trip to Mali, in West Africa.
My family also has deep roots in the food industry. Ironically, my dad, grandfather and great-grandfather were all career butchers. The name of the business is an homage to the 50+ years that my family operated butcher shops in Jersey City. Despite our meaty roots, my dad is an excellent vegetarian cook and the White Bean Broccoli Rabe burger is inspired by one of his dishes.
In 2012, JCVB started out as a stand at the farmers market. Now we're in a dozen grocery stores and served in restaurants throughout Hudson and Essex counties.
One piece of advice you have for other food entrepreneurs: Don't be afraid to fail.
What you wish you had known before you started your business: Progress comes in fits and starts. It's often two steps forward, one step back.
Your greatest challenge in your business and how you’re overcoming it: My greatest challenge is the fact that I'm new to the food business. I'm overcoming this by trying to educate myself in all aspects of the industry. I've worked part-time with other food businesses doing sales and merchandising, and am currently cooking in a restaurant. I'm trying to gain as much knowledge and perspective as possible.
What you’re most proud of about your business: I'm very proud of the fact that my product has opened up vegetarian eating to more people. I'm not vegetarian, and probably never will be; but I think eating less meat is one of the best choices you can make for the environment and your health. I have so many people tell me that they never ate veggie burgers before trying mine. I'm really proud of helping to create a healthier community and food system.
What’s yummy about being a food entrepreneur: Food is such an interesting window into culture, tradition and environment. I love being able to tell a story through food.
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