Black chefs fuel vegan food in Charlotte, North Carolina

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With health and wellness at the forefront of many conversations today, it’s no surprise that veganism is growing in popularity. Over the past few years, Charlotte has seen tremendous growth and change in its restaurant scene.

Many of Charlotte’s black vegan chefs are leading the charge, bringing innovative and flavorful vegan dishes to plant-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 at the forefront of this trend that leads to healthier lifestyles for the community. “I think 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 step in, instead of leading the way for something,” Faulkner previously told CharlotteFive.

From crispy plant-based chicken to vegan mac and cheese made with coconut cream, here’s where you can sample some of Charlotte’s best vegan dishes made by black chefs.

The best of two souls

Location: 2200 Thrift Road, Charlotte, North Carolina 28208

Neighbourhood: West End

Menu

Instagram: @bestofbothsoulsclt

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

Dish to try: It’s Not Chick’n Strips Crispy and Crunchy Plant-Based Dinner features fried oyster mushrooms. It comes with your choice of two sides ($20).

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Best of Both Souls It’s Not Chick’n Strips Crispy and Crunchy Plant-Based Dinner is made with fried oyster mushrooms. Courtesy of the best of two souls

Cooking with Joya

Location: Charlotte

Neighbourhood: Charlotte

Instagram: @cookingwithjoya

What to Know: Adjoa “Joya” Courtney, aka “Chef Joya,” is known for creating delicious vegan dishes, especially vegan mac and cheese. She is the author of four vegan cookbooks and she has a range of vegan seasonings. You can book Chef Joya for private dinners, catering, vegan tips, corporate seminars, and private or group virtual cooking classes.

Chef Joya Courtney has published a vegan cookbook 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.” Anne Norment CharlotteFive

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

Dee’s Vegan Takeaways

Location: 1540 West Blvd Suite 100, Charlotte, North Carolina 28208

Neighbourhood: Westover Hills

Menu

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

Dish to try: Mac & Cheese is a creamy cheese sauce 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).

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Dee’s Vegan To Go Mac and Cheese is gluten 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 his 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, North Carolina 28217

Neighbourhood: Closeburn/Glenkirk

Menu

Instagram: @romeosveganburgers

What to know: Romeo’s offers on-site dining, take-out and drive-thru. On the menu, 100% vegetable burgers and organic homemade lemonades, tea and organic shakes.

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

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

The Sweet Spoon Bakery

Location: Online only

Neighbourhood: Charlotte

Menu

Instagram: @sweetspoonbake

What to know: Sweet Spoon Bakery offers jars of vegan desserts that are prepared for you to eat straight from the jar. The Dessert Shop is online only and offers local delivery and shipping.

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

Sun Burger Vegan Cuisine

Location: Charlotte

Neighbourhood: Charlotte

Instagram: @sunburgervegancuisine

Menu

To know: In addition to the food truck, Sun Burger offers a vegan meal formula and a delivery service.

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

Trust Ur Taste Budz

Location: Charlotte

Neighbourhood: Highland Creek

Instagram: @trusturtastebudz

What to know: Trust Ur Taste Budz is a meal service that offers chicken, barbecue and more. There are pick up and delivery options. The concept will reopen mid-spring 2022.

Dish to try: The BBQ Ribz includes tender ribs served with macaroni and cheese, green beans and cornbread ($20).

Ve-Go food truck

Location: variable

Neighbourhood: Charlotte, Concord

Menu

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 baked ziti.

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

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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

Neighbourhood: Ballantyne

Menu

Instagram: @veltreevegan

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

Dish to try: Chic’n Fried Drumsticks come with three pieces ($9).

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Chic’n fried 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 06:00.

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Ebony Morman is a freelance writer. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling, reading, writing and developing Charlotte’s youth through her non-profit association. Follow her on Instagram @chitoclt.