Impossible’s new vegan chicken has arrived. Here’s where to get the nuggets in the Bay Area

Impossible Foods’ first foray into vegan chicken hit the Bay Area on Tuesday — in a crispy, golden-brown nugget format.

The Redwood City company’s plant-based chicken nuggets are now for sale at burger joint Gott’s Roadside as well as El Alto Jr., a one-month pop-up preview for chef Traci Des Jardins’ upcoming restaurant, El Alto, at the brand-new State Street Market in downtown Los Altos. There are Gott’s locations in San Francisco, Greenbrae, Napa, St. Helena, Palo Alto and Walnut Creek.

As with when Impossible Burger debuted in 2016, the nuggets are initially on menus at a few select restaurants nationwide helmed by celebrity chefs like David Chang and Marcus Samuelsson. But unlike that gradual rollout, where it took years for other restaurants and grocery stores to access the remarkably beef-like product, the nuggets are going to be widely available soon.

Restaurants can already order the nuggets through major distributors, and some grocery stores like Safeway and Walmart will stock the nuggets in their frozen aisles later this month. More than 10,000 stores are expected to carry Impossible’s chicken by the end of the year. They’ll be priced at $7.99 for 20 pieces.

As with Impossible’s beefy burger and pork-like sausage, the nuggets are primarily made from soy. Sunflower oil provides the fat, while added nutrients, amino acids and sugars help make the product taste like chicken. And just like traditional chicken nuggets, these are also rolled in breadcrumbs for a crunchy coating.

Impossible's nuggets are served with tomatillo barbecue sauce from El Alto Jr., Traci Des Jardins' pop-up inside State Street Market.

Impossible’s nuggets are served with tomatillo barbecue sauce from El Alto Jr., Traci Des Jardins’ pop-up inside State Street Market.

Elena Kadvany/The Chronicle

The nuggets are likely to appeal to parents and young children, especially in the context of climate change, said Des Jardins. She recalled fielding questions from her son when he was little about where meat comes from.

“You have this moment as a parent where you’re convincing your kid to eat animals when they’re sort of resistant to the idea. It’s so weird,” she said. “I think giving them the opportunity to eat a plant-based diet and also things that they’re familiar with — as a parent, there’s nothing better than that.”

At El Alto Jr., the $12 nuggets are served with a tomatillo barbecue sauce and strips of mango, cucumber, celery and carrot, inspired by the fruit and veggie stands found in Mexico.

Des Jardins and Jennifer Rebman, culinary director at Gott’s, both said they don’t think they’d be able to tell in a blind taste test the difference between an Impossible nugget and a real chicken nugget. Two Chronicle reporters tried a sample and agree — the nuggets were crunchy on the outside, soft and slightly chewy on the inside and mildly seasoned with no aftertaste.

At Gott’s, eight nuggets come with fries and three dipping sauces — ranch, honey mustard and barbecue — for $12.99.

The interior of Impossible's new chicken nugget, fried up at Gott's Roadside in San Francisco's Ferry Building.

The interior of Impossible’s new chicken nugget, fried up at Gott’s Roadside in San Francisco’s Ferry Building.

Janelle Bitker/The Chronicle

Gott’s was an early adopter of the Impossible Burger, and Rebman remembers customers traveling from all over the region to try it. She expects a similar frenzy over the nuggets and eventually hopes to make the nuggets a permanent offering on the menu, though the restaurant is waiting for feedback after an eight-week preview period.

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