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Our Story

Next Level founders Matt and Cierra de Gruyter took their big idea and risked everything to see it come to life, but they didn’t start out that way. Matt, a former Marine with a successful private equity career in oil & gas, had a comfortable life with Cierra and their young family. As Cierra led the family on a journey to explore plant-based eating for health and animal welfare reasons, they became very uncomfortable with what they saw happening in the world — escalating climate change, a lack of healthy dining options and a fundamental problem with where people get their food — and they felt a clear urgency to do something about it.

Packing up their lives, they put their heart and soul into building something new, different and very special, a plant-based burger chain that would be all about quality and sustainability – something good for the people, animals and the planet.

This big, delicious idea from one little family grew into America’s First 100% Plant-Based Burger Joint Chain – Next Level Burger. In 2024, Next Level acquired Veggie Grill, the beloved plant-based restaurant founded in 2006. Together, Next Level Burger and Veggie Grill by Next Level comprise the largest wholly owned plant-based restaurant company in North America with 27 locations… and counting!

Next Level’s commitment to fighting climate change by developing an animal-free supply chain means every menu item features wholesome, responsibly sourced ingredients and all-organic veggies. From garden to grill, we’re serving up food for a better world on the daily in locations from coast to coast. And Matt and Cierra are still rolling up their sleeves every day to make sure every burger, bowl, salad and sandwich is everything they imagined in those early days of dreaming up Next Level.

Goodness Everywhere

Something for Everyone

Whether you're a vegan, meat-eater or anywhere in between, we bet you'll find something you love on our menu. We offer a variety of different protein options to fit your life – and your tastes!

For our guests with dietary restrictions, we offer transparent labeling of allergens, calories and protein.

We proudly source all organic fresh veggies, bringing you top quality eats on the daily.

Fresh Love to Your Plate


Doing the right thing means everything to us.

We commit to organic fresh veggies and wholesome ingredients because it’s right for our guests.

We pay our team members a living wage because it’s right for them.

We commit to sustainability in everything we do because it’s right for the planet.

Why Plant-Based?

Committed to a Better World

It takes nearly 2,000 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef. One third of human-caused methane emissions come from livestock. We can do better, and we should.

The climate crisis demands a swift and complete overhaul of our dining habits, and the data clearly demonstrates that plant-based alternatives are healthier and better for the environment than conventional beef. Studies also show that eating more plant-based proteins increases longevity. 

The single best thing you can personally do to combat climate change is choose a plant-based meal – and it’s a really good choice for you personally, too. We thought, why not make choosing plant-based fun, convenient and DELICIOUS?! 

Since our founding, we've conserved enough fresh water to fill over 3,000 Olympic sized swimming pools and kept enough carbon emissions out of the atmosphere to fill nearly 1 BILLION birthday balloons! And counting...

Sowing Seeds of Change

Our food is our future. It's never been more true – or more important.

What we eat is everything in fighting climate change.

We believe going plant-based can save the planet. 

That's what we're all about – every bowl, every burger, every day.