Black chefs are powering vegan food in Charlotte, NC


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With health and wellness at the forefront of many conversations today, it’s no surprise that veganism is gaining popularity. Within the last few years, Charlotte has experienced tremendous growth — and changes — in its restaurant scene.

Many of Charlotte’s Black vegan chefs lead the charge by bringing innovative and flavorful vegan dishes to plant-based eaters and meat-eaters who can’t resist — or can’t believe it’s not meat.

Romeo’s Vegan Burgers’ co-owner Monty “Tigo B.” Faulkner realizes the importance of being in the forefront of this trend that leads to healthier lifestyles for the community. “I feel that it’s important because, you know, it’s revolutionary. You know, because at the end of the day, most people wait to see things work and then jump in, versus leading the way in something,” Faulkner previously told CharlotteFive.

From crispy, plant-based chicken to vegan mac and cheese made with coconut cream, here’s where you can get a taste of some of the best vegan food in Charlotte made by Black chefs.

Best of Both Souls

Location: 2200 Thrift Rd, Charlotte, NC 28208

Neighborhood: West End


Instagram: @bestofbothsoulsclt

What to know: Best of Both Souls’ menu offers vegan and vegetarian options with a twist. The concept is pickup only from The City Kitch West End.

Dish to try: The crispy, crunchy plant-based It’s Not Chick’n Strips Dinner is fried oyster mushrooms. It comes with your choice of two sides ($20).

Best of Both Souls’ crispy, crunchy plant-based It’s Not Chick’n Strips Dinner is made with fried oyster mushrooms. Courtesy of Best of Both Souls

Cooking with Joya

Location: Charlotte

Neighborhood: Charlotte

Instagram: @cookingwithjoya

What to know: Adjoa “Joya” Courtney, aka “Chef Joya,” is known for creating delicious vegan food, especially vegan mac and cheese. She’s the author of four vegan cookbooks and she has a line of vegan seasonings. You can book Chef Joya for private dining, catering, vegan consulting, corporate seminars and private or group virtual cooking classes.

Chef Joya Courtney has a vegan cookbook out called It’s Soul Mahmazing. Photo credit Ann Norment..JPG
Chef Joya Courtney has written a few vegan cookbooks, including one called “It’s Soul Mahmazing.” Ann Norment CharlotteFive

[Related: ‘We boost each other.’ Meet the sibling chefs changing Charlotte’s vegan food scene]

Dee’s Vegan To-Go

Location: 1540 West Blvd Suite 100, Charlotte, NC 28208

Neighborhood: Westover Hills


What to know: Dee’s Vegan To-Go in City West Commons offers a menu that’s described as “vegan comfort food.” The concept is takeout only.

Dish to try: The Mac & Cheese is a creamy cheese sauce that’s made with coconut cream, vegan butter, nutritional yeast, and seasonings. It’s tossed with gluten-free macaroni noodles and vegan cheddar cheese sauce ($8.49).

The mac and cheese at Dee’s Vegan To Go is gluten-free and soy-free. Courtesy of Denise Hairston

Mac’d Vegan Food Truck

Location: Varies

Neighborhood: Varies

Instagram: @macdvegan

What to know: Mac’d Vegan offers a menu that includes Hot Dawgs, Chick’n Gyro, Mac n Cheez and more. Check its social for locations..

Dish to try: The Chick’n Gyro on Pita includes lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion and tzatziki ($13.50).

Romeo’s Vegan Burgers

Location: 5518 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28217

Neighborhood: Closeburn/Glenkirk


Instagram: @romeosveganburgers

What to know: Romeo’s offers dine-in, carry-out and drive-thru services. The menu includes 100% plant-based burgers and organic house-made lemonades, tea and organic shakes.

Dish to try: The Where Art Thou Romeo Burger includes lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese and house pickles ($12.99).

The plant-based burgers are served on vegan buns with Follow Your Heart’s plant-based cheese and Romeo’s homemade vegan sauce. Romeo’s Vegan Burgers

The Sweet Spoon Bakery

Location: Online only

Neighborhood: Charlotte


Instagram: @sweetspoonbake

What to know: Sweet Spoon Bakery offers vegan dessert jars that are prepared for you to eat right out of the jar. The dessert shop is online only and offers local delivery and shipping.

Dish to try: The Banana Velvet Jar comes with banana cake, creamy cookie pudding, homemade vanilla wafers and signature vanilla frosting ($13.75).

Sun Burger Vegan Cuisine

Location: Charlotte

Neighborhood: Charlotte

Instagram: @sunburgervegancuisine


What to know: In addition to the food truck, Sun Burger offers a vegan cuisine meal plan and delivery service.

Dish to try: The Plantain Panini comes with a crispy, sweet fried plantain on flourless bread with tomato, arugula, smoked gouda and spicy mayo. It’s served with a kosher dill pickle ($8.58).

Trust Ur Taste Budz

Location: Charlotte

Neighborhood: Highland Creek

Instagram: @trusturtastebudz

What to know: Trust Ur Taste Budz is a meal service that offers chick’n, barbecue and more. There are pickup and delivery options. The concept will re-open mid-spring 2022.

Dish to try: The BBQ Ribz includes tender ribz served with mac & cheeze, green beans and cornbread ($20).

Ve-Go Food Truck

Location: varies

Neighborhood: Charlotte, Concord


Instagram: @ve_gofoodtruck

What to know: Ve-Go was started by Akil Courtney and his wife in 2019. The truck offers catering, meal prep and private food truck events. The food truck menu includes everything from Salmon Croquettes and Cajun Fried Fish to Beef and Broccoli and Loaded Baked Ziti.

Dish to try: The Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes comes with your choice of two sides ($16).

Chef Akil Courtney, left and executive chef Marco Boykin, right, prepare meals inside the Ve-Go Food Truck. Jeff Siner [email protected]

Veltree, The Vegan Experience

Location: 14825 Ballantyne Village Way, #150, Charlotte, NC 28277

Neighborhood: Ballantyne


Instagram: @veltreevegan

What to know: Described as a soulful vegan cafe, the concept offers vegan cuisine, smoothies and juices. The menu includes lasagna, Krabcake sandwich, yams and more.

Dish to try: The fried chic’n drumsticks come with three pieces ($9).

Fried chic’n drumsticks. Courtesy of VelTree CharlotteFive

[Related: Plant-based? Here are 16 vegan restaurants in Charlotte, and what to order at each.]

This story was originally published February 18, 2022 6:00 AM.

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Ebony Morman is a freelance writer. In her free time, she loves to travel, read, write and develop Charlotte’s youth through her nonprofit. Follow her on Instagram @chitoclt.