Response positive for Life – The Vegan Drive Thru in Cape
Ryann Urban used to tell her friends that one day there is going to be a vegan drive-thru and it’s going to be a normal thing.
She just didn’t know it would be her and her partner, Wulf Schaude, who’d open one of them.
There are a handful of other vegan drive-thrus in the country, but only one in Cape Coral.
Life – The Vegan Drive Thru opened at 3310 Del Prado Blvd., South, on Dec. 30 and so far, the response from the community has been overwhelming — in a good way.
“We got thank you letters before we even opened,” Schaude said. “I think the community in general was just ready for something like this.”
The menu consists of breakfast and lunch items, fresh juices, smoothies, acai bowls, salads and dessert treats. Almost everything is under $10. You can visit the drive-thru or dine inside.
Some dishes include the snausage breakfast sandwich, made with vegan cheese, tomatoes, a tofu egg and a homemade snausage patty on a soft crystal bun. The bacon cheeseburger is made with their classic burger, cheddar cheese and homemade coconut bacon.
Schaude loves the snausage breakfast sandwich and broccoli cheddar soup. One of the top seller’s is the cali burger.
“It has to be five stars to make it on the menu,” Urban said. “If it’s not going to be something that even someone who isn’t vegan or a meat eater would enjoy, then it’s not going to be on the menu because we just want to have good quality items.”
Urban and Schaude also want to stress that you don’t have to be vegan or plant-based to eat there.
“We just serve good food that happens to be vegan and through the drive-thru,” Urban said. “And that’s something that means a lot to me even before I was completely plant-based. I found that I couldn’t get anything quick that was half decent.”
Many residents shared that sentiment with the owners.
“The response has been — especially from people who have been eating plant-based — overwhelming,” Urban said. “Finally they have somewhere they can go and know they’re getting quality stuff and they can have something that tastes good, too. And they don’t have to explain what vegan is or what plant-based is or anything like that.”
For people who’ve wanted to try a plant-based diet, Life – The Vegan Drive Thru is the perfect place to start.
“It’s always an overwhelming, happy response because people have been wanting to eat plant-based, but when you do, you have to work hard at it,” Urban said. “You’re always cooking, you’re planning your meals, and you are not going out.”
And for people who already follow the diet, it gives them a break.
“It gives those folks a chance to take a break for one meal and be able to relax and eat something out and take a load off,” Urban said. “That’s why we all do convenience food. We’re hungry and we know we have other things to do and you can’t even think about cooking dinner until you at least eat something. That feeling is real for people who are plant-based and for everyone else.
“So, it just speaks to the plant-based people who are always cooking and they get to take a day off and I hear that a lot. ‘Oh, we’re so thankful, now we don’t need to cook every single night.'”
Schaude and Urban didn’t do any advertising, either. They didn’t even put out an open sign on the first day.
Schaude also said customers have been writing them thank you emails and not just from Cape Coral and Southwest Florida.
Seasonal residents who return home to different parts of the country have been telling him they wish they had Life in their cities.
Schaude has a business background. He ran several businesses in Germany, where he’s from. When he moved to the United States, he bought a landscaping company, but he sold it after he got his green card and became an American citizen.
His parents ran different businesses, too.
“I grew up with numbers,” Schaude said. “To me, it doesn’t matter if it’s a restaurant or metal manufacturing, the numbers and processes are very similar. You have a product, you need to find the customers, prices need to be OK.”
And Urban has been in the restaurant business her whole life.
She worked with her parents at their restaurant and she worked at Cheesecake Factory for 7 1/2 years.
Urban and Schaude chose the name Life The Vegan Drive Thru because food is all about life.
“And we figure we can market it,” Schaude said. “Come to life, not only to our place, but come to life by eating and feeling better.”
And that goes for everyone, whether you eat a plant-based diet or not.
“You don’t have to be vegan to eat here and you can enjoy a good meal and you’ll notice how you feel afterwards. It’s night and day,” Urban said.