Cashew chicken goes vegan at downtown Springfield pop-up

Vegans and vegetarians will be able to get their cashew chicken fix this Friday — minus the chicken.

Jake’s Burgers, which makes vegan meat substitutes in Springfield, will be selling cashew “chik’n” starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 17, at Bosky’s Vegan Grill, 405 W. Walnut St. Vegan crab Rangoon will also be available.

The pop-up, which owner Jake Herren calls “Soy Division,” will only take cash or Venmo payment.

“I mean, I wanted to eat it,” Herren said when asked what inspired him to make a vegan version of Springfield’s signature fried-chicken-and-oyster-sauce dish. “There’s no place in town that does it where it’s not made with actual chicken. Then I was like, ‘Well, I bet the people would like this.'”

Herren previously offered the dish in July and thinks it’s a pretty good rendition of the Springfield staple.

More vegan eats: Sweet EMOtion, Brunch Box serve sweet treats, breakfast classics downtown

“I can guarantee that you don’t have to worry about it being white meat or dark meat,” Herren said. “It won’t ever be tough.”

His chik’n is made with wheat gluten, chickpeas, a blend of spices and also has olive oil in it. The unfried chik’n is available for sale to restaurants and, Herren hopes, will soon be available in local stores.

Herren started making vegan alternatives to meat-based favorites in 2018. His products are available at Mama Jean’s Natural Markets and local Price Cutters. A handful of local restaurants such as Gailey’s, Druff’s and Brunch Box offer dishes with his burgers, breakfast sausage and taco meat, though Herren hopes to expand his distribution.

“I’m always on the lookout for more restaurants to work with,” Herren said.

Susan Szuch is the health and public policy reporter for the Springfield News-Leader. Follow her on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @szuchsm. Story idea? Email her at

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