Burlington man’s vegan business booms amid pandemic


Earlier this year, the pandemic forced the meat industry into a panic after there was a nationwide shortage, so many people started looking at alternatives.

As interests surrounding vegan food continue to peak, a Burlington man’s new business venture is reaping all the benefits.

Mike Roach opened his food truck, Mike’s Vegan Cookout, back in April in the Chapel Hill area. Many people from cities across the Triad continued traveling to try his food, and that’s when he decided to bring the food to the people.

During a time where thousands of businesses across the country are shutting down due to the pandemic, Roach decided to take a leap of faith.

“I wasn’t nervous because I had faith. I had faith that people needed this,” Roach said. “I know there’s a lot of people out there searching for good vegan food.”

Good and sustainable vegan food is the motto at Mike’s Vegan Cookout.

It started as a pipe dream for the former Amazon worker and Uber driver. Before he got his more than 13,000 followers on social media, he was living in his mother’s home country of Panama.

“When I get there, I really witnessed what struggle was about. I’m living with my aunt. She’s letting me sleep on her couch on a balcony. I was getting rained on,” Roach recalled. 

He slept on the streets at times. But it’s something that eventually lead him to his dream of opening up his own business.

Each day, seven days a week, he goes to different locations in the Triad to the Triangle all the way to Charlotte to spread what he calls love.

“I feel like by me going from city to city, I’m impacting and touching people from each one of them cities in my state,” he said.

That’s a relief for people like Alvin Robinson who live in Winston-Salem. He said he and his wife travel to charlotte at times just to get quality vegan meals. With pop up trucks like Mike’s, he’s able to get it in his own backyard.

“I’m trying to change my whole eating habit and my whole way. Vegetables is more of a system to help you with your body. Cleanse your body. It doesn’t clog up your arteries,” Robinson said. 

As for the man behind the food, he hopes people who eat it can feel the love it’s made with.

“I think it’s big for me to spread that positivity, and that’s what I want back…all I want back is positivity,” Roach said. 

Two new food trucks by Mike’s Vegan Cookout will opening up in the coming months.

One will be based in Charlotte starting Nov. 1, while the other will be in the Raleigh/Durham area around the start of 2021. 

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