A MURWILLUMBAH restaurant is creating a haven for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, despite its new Beef and Leaf menu causing a fracas in town.
Originally launching as a vegetarian-only eatery earlier this year, Mental Lentil owner Terry Vine said he was surprised by the uproar after extending their menu to cater for meat-eaters.
"We realised pretty quickly that we were limiting our market in such a small town,” MrVine said.
"Many of our existing vegetarian and vegan customers were saying that it was a shame we didn't do non-vegetarian food because they were limited to who they could come in with.
"We do respect the vegetarians and vegans on what they want and likewise for non-vegetarians as well.”
Mr Vine said he opened the business shortly after the March floods because he wanted to support the local community but was surprised at the backlash from some of his customers about the menu change.
"It's always harder aiming at a niche market but we wanted to build this business as something very different,” Mr Vine said.
"We didn't want to just become a generic burger bar or cafe.
"We did lose half of our existing clients by changing the menu.
"However, many them have embraced our new fifty-fifty menu and now they can now come (into the restaurant) with anybody.
"But a lot of them won't step foot in here now because there's non-vegetarian items on the menu even though all our vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods are prepared and cooked separately.
"We make and design all our own patties and we do them all in-house on separate days, so as to further reduce any possible cross contamination.”
Mr Vine said he hoped the community would support his business and give the new Beef and Leaf menu a try.
"Come in and support us,” he said.
"We supported Murwillumbah just after the floods to build our new business in town town and support from the locals is important for a new business to flourish.
"It's a two-way thing.”
Mr Vine said the new 50-50 Beef and Leaf menu has something for everyone, including the Mental Lentil burger, Heavenly Haloumi burger, Perfect Pork burger and Champion Chicken burger.
- The Mental Lentil Burger Bar and Cafe is open everyday from 9am-4pm
- 91 Murwillumbah St, Murwillumbah
- Phone 02 6672 6850