Planet Vegan Co-Founder Michael McElroy is ready for a fresh start.

Founded in 2019, Planet Vegan emerged as a food truck after McElroy adopted a vegan lifestyle following his father’s heart transplant, The Fresno Bee reports.

However, 18 months ago, his business was halted after being destroyed in a fire that injured a bystander and McElroy’s business partner, Joe Ellis. Ellis spent several months in the hospital with second- and third-degree burns but is expected to return to work in February 2024.

“After dealing with such a traumatic event it’s been real emotional, there’s been a lot of ups and downs, and highs and lows,” McElroy said, according to Your Central Valley.

Rallying around the restaurant that had been serving specialties including a Beyond Burger or Impossible patty hamburger and its best-selling Galaxy Fries, the Fresno, CA, community raised over $73,000 through a GoFundMe initiative to help Ellis, who was without health insurance, per The Fresno Bee.

There was additional backing following the aftermath of the fire from a Fresno Street Eats fundraiser and individual donors.

“We had great community support,” McElroy expressed to the outlet.

The collective effort has helped position Planet Vegan to open its first storefront at 12 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024.

It will be located on 7845 N. Palm Ave., Suite 108, in Fresno, and is projected to be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays through Sundays.


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“We would like to thank all the Planet Vegan Family, as well as the Fresno Community for all the LOVE, SUPPORT, and PATIENCE thru this past year of our small business being at an idle. But WE are back!!” a statement on the business’ Instagram page read. “We are very excited for this opportunity and have been waiting very anxiously to get back to sharing our Vegan culture Love thru food! Thank you Everyone once again for EVERYTHING and see you this SUMMER, WE absolutely can’t WAIT.”

McElroy is already envisioning the future possibilities of the restaurant, with potential plans to franchise.

“In the future we plan on franchising the business, just growing, seeing how things go with the first location and going from there,” McElroy told ABC-30 News.