Featured photo: Mike and his wife India pose with their daughter in front of their new brick-and-mortar location in Greensboro. (photo by Sayaka Matsuoka)
Mike Roach couldn’t be happier.
On May 20, he and his loved ones officially celebrated the grand opening of Mike’s Vegan Grill in Greensboro. Roach and his wife India Dillard have been running their popular Mike’s Vegan Cookout food trucks out of the Triad and Triangle and Charlotte for the last few years. And as of this past weekend, they now have a brick and mortar to call home.
Located at 2501 W Gate City Blvd., the business fills the vacant spot that used to be occupied by Ghassan’s Fresh Mediterranean Eats, which closed in 2020. The local chain still has three other locations in in the city.
Like Roach’s effervescent, energy, the restaurant interior is painted a bright lime green with graffiti accents.
In a previous article, Roach told TCB that he wanted to open Mike’s Vegan Cookout because as a vegan, he wanted to have the opportunity to eat the kind of stuff he ate when he got drunk. And the menu at both businesses is perfect for drunchies.
While the name is slightly different, Mike’s Vegan Grill serves up the same plant-based goodness that Mike’s Vegan Cookout is known for. In addition to their burgers, which use Beyond Meat, the restaurant serves hot dogs and chicken sandwiches too. For their brick and mortar, they’ve added vegan soft-serve ice cream and specials like Philly cheesesteaks and “shrimp” po’boys.
Roach says having a brick and mortar after running the food trucks for so long is a “dream come true.”
“Through all those hard times God kept pushing me to reach the level that I’ve always prayed for,” Roach says. “I feel extremely loved and proud of my family and I from being in a food truck to hitting every city in North Carolina to finally have an a brick and mortar is a dream come true!”
Currently, the truck only operates for special events. Roach hopes to buy a new truck in the future to do an “East Coast tour,” he says.
“Our plan is to do Miami to New York,” he says. “I don’t know when, but that’s the plan.”
Mike’s Vegan Cookout began in 2019 and has been expanding ever since. Their expansion into a brick and mortar signifies a growth in vegan interest in the Triad despite the area’s historic lag behind national food trends.
“This was a big execution in my life,” Roach says. “The food truck was the start to get here.”
For years, the city has had Boba House, which has been open since 2003, as one of the only options for plant-based meals. Another was the Well Café, which was housed in Sonder Mind and Body in downtown and closed during the pandemic. Brian Ricciardi’s vegan ventures — Dom’s and Radici — came under fire last year for what workers said was a toxic work environment. Radici, which was located on Elm Street in downtown Greensboro, closed last year and Ricciardi told TCB in January that he was operating Dom’s alone. In summer 2022, friends Monty “Tigo B” Faulkner and Lamont Heath opened Romeo’s Vegan Burgers on Tate Street, which has been popular with college kids and locals alike.
When Roach started his vegan food truck in 2019, he says some people close to him told him the idea would never work.
“They said that this was a barbecue state,” he says. “And now, they say they’re proud of me. So it’s beautiful to go against the grain, take that risk, and you know, keep pushing forward.”
Visit Mike’s Vegan Grill at 2501 W. Gate City Blvd. in Greensboro. Follow them on Instagram @mikesvegangrill
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