This McDonald's Copycat Restaurant Is Serving Items You Can't Get Anywhere Else
McDonald's, like many fast-food chains, has taken steps in recent years to grow its vegan and plant-based options. The chain currently offers a limited vegan menu at locations in the U.K., and began rolling out its new McPlant burger in the U.S. earlier this year.
When it comes to offering a full range of vegan choices—including plant-based alternatives to bestsellers like Chicken McNuggets and the Crispy Chicken Sandwich—McDonald's still has a ways to go. Apart from the McPlant (which is not even technically vegan) vegan customers at McDonald's are mostly limited to peripheral menu items like apple slices and side salads.
But vegan Mickey D's food is no longer just a plant-based fantasy, thanks to a new McDonald's copycat restaurant that's making waves on social media. Mr. Charlie's, a Los Angeles-based restaurant offering a fully vegetarian/vegan McDonald's-esque dining experience, is currently exploding in popularity on TikTok, where it has been dubbed the "vegan McDonald's."
With a storefront and product packaging virtually identical to McDonald's, and menu items with names like the "Frowny Meal" and "Not a Hamburger" Mr. Charlie's is a playful vegetarian/vegan reimagining of Mickey D's most popular items.
Making liberal use of Impossible Foods products, Mr. Charlie's menu consists of four main items, including vegan hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, and chicken nuggets. The sandwiches and nuggets go for $6 to $8 a la carte, and the flagship "Frowny Meal" (which includes a burger, four nuggets, fries, and a drink) is priced at $15.
Mr. Charlie's is owned by Charlie Kim, a Los Angeles restaurateur. The first Mr. Charlie's location opened earlier this year, and Kim is hoping to expand the line, offering partnership opportunities to owners of struggling fast-food franchises.
"If you have a failing fast-food restaurant anywhere in the country and you need the help and it's something that we can support, we are down to Mr. Charlie your space and partner with you," Kim told the Los Angeles Times in a recent interview.