Nicole Diamantis and her husband, Ryan Jeffries, are opening Asheville’s first vegetarian drive-through at 705 Merrimon Ave. in the old Backyard Burger location, just past the Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company. The business is to be called VegHeads Drive-thru and will specialize in recognizable, healthy and portable meat-free fare that’s made on site.
Menu items will include dishes like falafel, veggie burgers and spanakopita. There will also be a value menu and kids items, like ants on a log — a childhood favorite of celery sticks filled with peanut butter and topped with raisin “ants” — which will only set parents back one dollar.
Photo by Jonathan Welch
The business will operate just like any other drive-through, says Diamantis — everything will be fast and affordable. But, unlike most drive-throughs, an abundance of house-made vegetarian options, as well as vegan, gluten-free and raw items will be available. None of it, Diamantis emphasizes, will be needlessly complicated. “I don’t want to make vegetarian food new, or reinvent the wheel,” she says. “I want it to be very accessible. We’re not trying to bring other people over to a way of thought or a lifestyle, so much as to just say that we understand that people are in a rush and they don’t want to eat McDonald’s. This is food that people are familiar with.”
The duo is planning on franchising the idea, says Diamantis. So, once it’s nailed down, the menu will not change and all items will be made to a specific recipe, eliminating the inconsistency problem that plagues some restaurants.
The restaurant will likely open in early March, says Diamantis. The couple is still discussing business hours — if there is demand for late-night food, says Diamantis, VegHeads will serve that need. For now, VegHeads hours are planned as 10 a.m. until 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
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