A McMei Mei Pop-Up Will Make You Feel Better About Your Fast Food Cravings

A pasture-raised 'Big Mei' burger and local Russet potato fries are on the menu.
McMei Mei Big Mei

McMei Mei Big Mei. / Photo by Emily Ko provided

UPDATE, December 2: McMei Mei returns this month, taking over Sunday dinner service on December 11 from 6-9 p.m.

PREVIOUSLY:

Whether the president-elect agrees or not, climate change is a real problem for Boston and the wider world. Mei Mei and other operations certified by the Sustainable Business Network in Massachusetts do what they can to mitigate the effects of their actions on the planet, and next week, the Audubon Circle restaurant is doing it in fast food form.

Mei Mei is hosting what chef and owner Irene Li hopes is the first in a series of McMei Mei pop-ups on Monday, November 14.

“As we have become more educated about food and where it comes from, and industrial food systems, cutting fast food out of our lives to a greater of lesser extent has been an effect of that. But you know there’s nothing I love more than a burger and fries,” she says. “We really wanted to see if we could used our sourcing to recreate all the things you love about fast food without all the things you’d rather not think about when you eat fast food.”

For the double-patty “Big Mei” burger, Mei Mei chefs Ben Stroud and Emily Ko sourced beef from Shire Beef. The Animal Welfare Approved farm in Vershire, Vt. is unaffected by Question 3, which bans meat from animals raised in tight quarters, and passed with an overwhelming margin by Massachusetts voters yesterday.

Locally sourced greens and tomatoes top the sandwich, and the team is currently in research and development to perfect a fast food-esque side of French fries with northeastern Russet potatoes. They are also finalizing the recipe for a house-made “extra special sauce.” To channel that melt-in-your-mouth bread around a fast food burger, the chefs are creating a roll that combines the softness of their Chinese-style steamed buns and a classic burger bun. And for dessert, of course there’s apple pie.

McMei Mei takes over the restaurant on Monday (Mei Mei typically isn’t open for dinner that night) beginning at 7 p.m., but seating is limited. If you’re a guilty fast food fan, make sure to reserve yourself a Big Mei for dine-in or takeout. The team is using online pre-orders to help prepare enough burgers to ensure they won’t run out. And keep an eye out for future McMei Mei pop-ups.

“We’re definitely hoping to expand this into a series of different kinds of fast food, like fast food tacos, chicken sandwiches—there are so many different directions we could go in,” Li says.

Bring on the comfort food.

Mc Mei Mei, seatings start at 7 p.m., Monday, November 14, $8 pre-order, 506 Park Drive, Boston, 857-250-4959, meimeiboston.com.

Update, Monday, November 14, 10 a.m.: This post has been updated with a teaser about McMei Mei apple pie.


Jacqueline Cain Associate Food Editor at Boston Magazine jcain@bostonmagazine.com