CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Though many businesses have struggled to keep the doors open during the pandemic, one food truck that opened during the pandemic has been so successful they’ve now been able to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

Co-owners Tigo Faulkner and Lamont Heath said Romeo's Vegan Burgers is now one of the first vegan drive-thrus to open in the Southeast.

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“We are a full vegan establishment that’s from the cheese to the fries to the buns -- everything,” Faulkner said.

They believe that's a part of what made the food truck's debut during the pandemic so successful.

"Since we’ve opened we’ve had lines that come out of our parking lot and up the street,” co-owner Lamont Heath said.

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Faulkner Heath said their vegan burgers have actually drawn in more meat-eaters.

"Eighty percent of our customer base is not vegan,” Heath said.

The two started Romeo’s Vegan Burgers as a food truck during the pandemic that drew crowds by the dozens.

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Just over a year later, their success has allowed them to turn it into a brick and mortar with a drive-thru -- offering everything from vegan burgers to vegan chili cheese fries to vegan milkshakes.

“We saw that there were things that needed to take place in the vegan community, there needed to be a comfort food, something that was quick fast food where you can just get it and go,” Faulkner said.

Heath said their food is made-to-order and credits part of their success to the freshness.

“Tried it once and I was hooked after that," Brian Smith, a customer, said.

Smith said vegan-only restaurants are few and far in between in the Queen City.

“It's always definitely a hunt to find a good spot," Smith said. "Other places it's like they're normal restaurants and they try to cater to people who are vegetarian or vegan so they’ll have one or two options on the menu, but it’s still really limited.”

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Although they escaped the financial volatility of the pandemic, Heath and Faulkner said the worker shortage has been a challenge.

“To be honest, we’re looking for help right now," Heath said, laughing. "Right now. Somebody could come get a job right now. Cooks, cashier, server, milkshakes, everything." 

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The two said they’re proud to bring a new vegan option to the city.

“Our plans are to keep going as far as this thing will allow us to take it,” Faulkner said.

If you'd like to check it out, Romeo's Vegan Burgers is located at 5518 South Blvd.

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