ASHEVILLE – A North Carolina-based restaurant brand flipping the idea of comfort food has made its Asheville debut with plant-based burgers, fries and shakes on the menu.

On June 20, Romeo’s Vegan Burgers opened at 640 Merrimon Ave, Unit 203 in the retail plaza neighboring businesses like The Hop and Mother Ocean Seafood Market.

“We want to make sure we have a Romeo’s in places where people are drawn to. In North Carolina, Asheville is a big draw – you have Biltmore, mountains, the scenic areas, and a conscious vibration in the city,” said co-owner Tigo Faulkner. “Veganism is something that’s invited here so we wanted to bring our spin on veganism to Asheville.”

Romeo’s Vegan Burgers co-owners, Lamont Heath, left, and Tigo Faulkner, at their new location in Asheville.

Romeo’s Vegan Burgers co-owners, Lamont Heath, left, and Tigo Faulkner, at their new location in Asheville.

Faulkner said he found spirituality nearly a decade ago and adopted a vegan lifestyle.

In 2020, Faulkner, a hip-hop artist, said he and his music manager and business partner, Lamont Heath, intended to open a restaurant but due to the COVID-19 pandemic they decided to pivot to a food truck.

Romeo’s Vegan Burgers food truck, which continues to operate in Charlotte, quickly gained popularity.

“It became almost like an event because clubs weren’t open, no lounges, and you couldn’t get into a restaurant,” Faulkner said. “All day, every day people would come and there would be lines of 50 or 60 people at the food truck.”

The success led to the business partners opening brick-and-mortar restaurants in Charlotte and Greensboro and now Asheville with more on the horizon.

Faulkner said customers often think the restaurant is named after him, but “Romeo” is the name of the business’s mascot – a cartoon rabbit eating a burger with a carrot inside.

Romeo’s Vegan Burgers recently opened in North Asheville.Romeo’s Vegan Burgers recently opened in North Asheville.

Romeo’s Vegan Burgers recently opened in North Asheville.

Romeo’s Vegan Burgers menu

Faulkner said Romeo’s combats the misconception that vegan food can’t be delicious or flavorful and delivers beloved comfort foods in a plant-based form.

“There’s only two types of food – good food and bad food – and we’re in the good food business,” he said.

Romeo’s menu features scratch-made ingredients and products from brands like Beyond Meats, Impossible Foods and Follow Your Heart.

The Where Art Thou Romeo Burger, the bestseller, is made with a plant-based patty topped with lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, cheese, pickles and a signature house-made “sweet, tangy and smoky” sauce and costs $12.99. Make it a combo to add a side, like fresh-cut fries or tater tots, and a drink for an upcharge.

Faulkner said his favorite menu item is the Romeo BBQ Bacon Burger topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onions, pickles, bacon, mayo and barbecue sauce, which costs $13.99.

An order is prepared at Romeo’s Vegan Burgers in North Asheville, June 21, 2024.An order is prepared at Romeo’s Vegan Burgers in North Asheville, June 21, 2024.

An order is prepared at Romeo’s Vegan Burgers in North Asheville, June 21, 2024.

“We want to make plant-based food not only palpable but interesting to people who are not interested in plant-based food,” Faulkner said.

The menu continues with chili cheese fries, a kale wrap, kale salads and shakes blended with soy ice cream.

Freshly made iced tea, lemonade and strawberry lemonade made with cane sugar and Maine Root sugar cane sodas are on the beverage menu.

Dine-in, carry-out, online ordering and delivery via Uber Eats and DoorDash is available.

“We’ve got a brand that’s recognized throughout the state,” Faulkner said. “As soon as we opened the doors today, people were coming. It’s truly a blessing.”

Romeo’s Vegan Burgers

Where: 640 Merrimon Ave, Unit 203, Asheville.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Info: For more, visit romeosveganburgers.com and facebook.com/romeosveganburgers and follow @romeosveganburgers on Instagram. Romeo’s Vegan Burgers is hiring for manager and staff positions; wages begin at $14/hour. Apply via job boards like Indeed.

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Tiana Kennell is the food and dining reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA Today Network. Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Instagram @PrincessOfPage. Please support this type of journalism with a subscription to the Citizen Times.

This article originally appeared on Asheville Citizen Times: Romeo’s Vegan Burgers opens third restaurant in Asheville, more coming

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