Spotlight on Small Business: King-Queen Caribbean Cuisine

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WHITSETT, NC – A brother and sister from Haiti had a dream.

A plan to get out of their food truck and open a full-service restaurant.

COVID created a few roadblocks but the two refused to throw in the towel.

“It was very difficult,” said Djosen Vilnor.

Djosen and Hilder Vilnor worked hard and long hours to open their restaurant.

They’ve been planning to do this since immigrating to the United States in the mid-90s.

“COVID-19 has been a real wake-up call for all of us,” Vilnor said.

The siblings wanted King-Queen Caribbean Cuisine to open in June.

But the spin-off of their food truck was put on hold and their business was hampered when the state closed in March.

” I was stressed. I was very scared because I was like I didn’t want anything to do with anyone. I don’t want to be around people because I don’t know who has it because I don’t want to take it home, ”Vilnor said.

Bankruptcy and paying bills for their new space almost marked the end of their dream. Their strength and desire was too strong.

“We are not going to give up. We will continue with what we are trying to do, ”Vilnor said.

The couple persevered by parking their food truck in local neighborhoods.

Customers have returned and Djosen and Hilder opened their new Whitsett restaurant on Cape Fear Drive for take out and curbside service two weeks ago.

“We are at the end of the tunnel. We can see the light, but it will just be a fight, ”Vilnor said.

A struggle to get this restaurant off the ground, but worth fighting for.

“This is my dream,” Hilder said.

Djosen and Hilder hope to open their restaurant for indoor dining once they hire more waiters, cooks and bartenders. Currently, Hilder does all the cooking in the restaurant during the day and runs the food truck at night.

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Michael M. Tomlin

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