Vegging out

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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22 thoughts on “Vegging out

  1. James P. Fisher

    Well now, THAT is interesting! Forget the kids-I’ll score a couple of “ants -on-a-log” anytime for myself;) Best of luck on this!

  2. Tina Tasios

    Hey Nicole and Ryan it looks like the restaurant is going to be great…GOOD LUCK!!!!

  3. Pete

    A great alternative to the standard fast food fare. Can’t wait to try it. Lots of luck guys.

  4. Kathy Burchfield

    This is a wonderful idea. We travel from the coast to Asheville frequently. We are looking forward to sampling as many items on the menu as we can on our next trip!

  5. Doug Sahm

    I can’t believe nobody (myself included) has thought of this before. Great idea! I hope it does well.

  6. Steven

    Once again I find myself wondering why I couldn’t I have thought of that! Glad somebody did however… Great idea and best of luck!!

  7. Nicole Diamantis

    Thanks Everyone- We’re going to do our absolute best to do this right for Asheville. What a wonderful welcome. See You All Soon!!

    Nicole and Ryan

  8. shannon

    This is great for parents that need something quick but cant quickly get in and out of the car to grab some food because of a sleeping child or whatnot.

  9. bill smith

    I’d like to know Stewart David’s take on this fascinating unfolding of events.

  10. jennifer

    great! my family just moved here from austin and i was missing a drive thru veggie option – we end up combing merrimon for quick healthy & fast all the time and will be relieved when we have it! a daily family platter special would be awesome in addition to individual options :)

  11. Samantha

    My husband and I own a family farm and raise our own pastured poultry and pork. Soon we will have some grass fed beef available. We don’t eat out but a few times a year and when we do I often eat the vegetarian option because we don’t eat factory meat.

  12. Highways

    Crossing my fingers to be able to add jalapenos to your veggie burger. You know some vegetarians love some spicy food…

  13. Stewart David

    “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

    Albert Einstein

  14. Anna

    I’m wondering if they’ve hired everyone they need? and I not, who would I contact for more information?

  15. Great looking building, I hope it works out for you. Maybe consider a change of font on the sign? Something more fun would do it. Good luck.

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