Mr. Charlie’s is owned by Charlie Kim, who first leased the storefront location on LaBrea Avenue last year. After meeting business partners Taylor and Aaron, the three opened Mr. Charlie’s on Valentine’s Day 2022, about which vegconomist reported last March. Branded with highly familiar red-and-yellow packaging and logos, Mr. Charlie’s serves plant-based versions of classic fast food like Impossible cheeseburgers and fries, plant-based chicken nuggets and their signature Frowny Meal.
The brand was quickly dubbed the “Vegan McDonald’s” online, but Mr. Charlie’s founders say the restaurant is building its own name. “We just really came up with an amazing brand, and it was all about how we’re gonna make this really fun because the restaurant business, the reality is it isn’t fun,” Charlie Kim told Fox 11 News. “There are a lot of risks and it’s not fun. This [Mr. Charlie’s] is fun.”
Besides offering fast food favorites, the brand also supports the local community through the Dream Center – an organization that provides education and resources to individuals struggling with homelessness, addiction or recent release from incarceration. Through the partnership, Mr. Charlie’s has hired seven employees from the program, including store manager Susan Ramos.
“I feel very honored to be at Mr. Charlie’s,” Ramos shared.” It’s about feeding the community, bringing in the community to give them jobs and give them hope when they might have been overlooked because of their past or things they’ve done wrong.”
The spirit of uplifting others, plus massive online buzz and delicious food, has attracted legions of new customers in a few short months.
“We haven’t even had a grand opening yet. It’s just so much traffic and people that come in and a positive feedback and the energy that we see,” said Andrew Powell, a Mr. Charlie’s assistant manager told the LA Times. “And it’s just crazy to see, firsthand, something from the beginning just grow and be all over social media. It can be overwhelming. But it’s beautiful. I love it.”