WHITSETT, N.C. — A brother and sister from Haiti had a dream.
A plan to move out of their food truck and open a full service restaurant.
COVID created some roadblocks but the two refused to throw in the towel.
“It’s just been very difficult,” Djosen Vilnor said.
Djosen and Hilder Vilnor have put in hard work and long hours to get their restaurant open.
They’ve planned to do this since they immigrated to the United States in the mid-90s.
“COVID-19 was a real wake-up call for all of us,” Vilnor said.
The siblings wanted King-Queen Caribbean Cuisine opened in June.
But the spin-off to their food truck was put on hold and the brakes were put on their business when the state shut down in March.
“I was stressed out. I was very scared because I was like I don’t want to have nothing to do with nobody. I don’t want to be near people because I don’t know who has it because I don’t want to bring it home,” Vilnor said.
Out of business and paying the bills on their new space almost marked the end of their dream. Their strength and desire were too powerful.
“We’re not going to give up. We’re going to still keep going with what we’re trying to do,” Vilnor said.
The pair persevered — parking their food truck in local neighborhoods.
Customers came back and Djosen and Hilder opened their new Whitsett restaurant on Cape Fear Drive for to-go and curbside service two weeks ago.
“We’re at the end of the tunnel. We can see the light but it’s just going to be a struggle,” Vilnor said.
A struggle to get this restaurant off the ground but one worth fighting for.
“It’s my dream,” said Hilder.
Djosen and Hilder hope to open up their restaurant for inside dining once they hire more servers, cooks and bartenders. Right now Hilder does all the cooking at the restaurant during the day and operates the food truck at night.