Lynchburg, VA-based grilled cheese truck Cheesy Rider will cease operations at the end of the month to be reborn as a fully vegan restaurant called Urbavore. Owners Elizabeth Russell and Matthew Kaplan adopted a vegan diet shortly after launching the truck in 2015 but were fearful that their business would falter if they removed animal products from the menu. To test vegan demand, the owners served only vegan soups on the truck and gave customers the option of making any grilled cheese sandwich vegan with Follow Your Heart cheeses. “Cheesy Rider was a successful full-vegetarian food truck in a town with only one fully vegetarian restaurant,” Russell tells VegNews, “and very few vegan options.” At Urbavore, the duo will serve an expanded menu of burgers, sweets, breakfast items, and “sammiches” such as the vegan crab-filled Crabbie Cakes, the Banh Mi Chay, and the Cheesy Rider—a weekly vegan grilled cheese special sandwich that recalls the restaurant’s food truck past. “While operating Cheesy Rider,” Russell said, “we learned that there are a lot of vegans here who want to eat out, to have a restaurant they can go to and not be the picky vegan at the table.” Russell and Kaplan plan to open Urbavore on December 1 with the hope that Cheesy Rider customers follow them to their new, all-vegan endeavor.
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