IT’S FAMOUS for its full-on, belly-busting burgers packed with juicy rump steak and loaded with toppings.

But after a health scare landed him in hospital, Lebowskis boss Graham Suttle has had a change of heart – and now he’s planning to make more than 50 per cent of the popular venue’s burger menu meat-free.

“Burgers are big for us, always have been - it’s what we’re famous for,” he says.

“But vegetarianism and veganism are becoming more mainstream and often it’s as much about lifestyle and health as it is about animal beliefs.

“It’s the duty of the hospitality industry to shape and support people’s choices.”

Read more:

Glasgow's one of the best cities in the UK for vegan and veggie restaurants

Graham’s company Kained Holdings, which also owns Porter & Rye, The Finnieston, The Crafty Pig and Rogue, has teamed up with Glasgow-based meat alternative business DARING Foods, which creates bespoke plant-based menus for a range of clients.

The start-up, which provides wheat protein-based meat, poultry and fish alternatives, launched in January and its products are now available in more than 60 of Glasgow’s restaurants, educational establishments and soft play centres.

“I’ve been searching for a really good alternative to meat for a while, and options have been thin on the ground,” says Graham.

“Someone introduced me to DARING and when I tried their burgers, I was blown away. I couldn’t tell the difference. Where they have really nailed it is on texture. When I eat a burger, it needs to be a good eating experience and veggies mashed up in a bun doesn’t necessarily provide that experience.”

Read more:

City eatery embraces meat-free trend

Graham gave up eating meat following a recent health scare.

“I’d had a knee injury for years – I got it playing rugby and it just never went away,” he explains. “It was misdiagnosed for 10 years, to be honest, and the pain would come and go. It was so painful, sometimes I would pass out. It was starting to affect my work and my life – the flare-ups would come out of nowhere and leave me out of action.”

On holiday in Spain, Graham ended up in hospital for several weeks after one attack. Diagnosed with arthritis, he continued to suffer until one doctor suggested cutting out meat from his diet.

“It was obvious something was aggravating my body, so I thought – why not?” he explains.

“I did and I haven’t had an attack since.”

He adds: “I think it is important to support our farmers, and we are lucky in Scotland with our beef industry – I know where our beef comes from, and the farmers do a fantastic job.

“But we do eat too much meat.

“Kained has always prided itself on its willingness to take risks and support the ‘little guy’ – although DARING Foods are far from the ‘little guy’ any more.”

Feedback from customers trying the new meat-free burgers at Leboswkis has already been positive, says Graham.

Read more of today's top Glasgow stories

He adds: “This is a superior product. It’s going to be a significant part of our menus in Lebowskis and across the group from now on.”