A former builder from Mossley Hill is opening an American style diner on Lark Lane - with a completely vegan menu.

Dad-of-two Chris McMichael, 46, is hoping to open Planet Vegan with his wife, Germaine, later this month.

The couple, from Mossley Hill, were inspired to adopt a vegan diet by their daughter who, at the age of five, decided she didn't want to eat animals.

Though their children are now both adults, the couple are still passionate about vegan food.

Get the top stories straight to you inbox by signing up to one of our free newsletters

Chris told the ECHO: "We became vegan when we lived in Ibiza, this was because our daughter who was five at the time decided she no longer wanted to eat animals anymore, and made us promise to join her.

"We became very passionate about veganism - not just for the animals but also for health and the planet.

"When we came home to Liverpool, we realised there was a real lack of vegan places and no real dedicated vegan restaurants where you could dine in the safe knowledge that your food would not be cross contaminated or sent something non-vegan by mistake and that everything around you was vegan - even our paint on the walls is vegan."

Chris, who used to be a builder before moving to Spain, and his wife are both now chefs. They also own Veggie Republic on Cook Street.

He added: "We felt it was important to show people that you don't need to have animal products on your plate to enjoy a meal. Food is our passion and being vegan is our life, so what better way than to combine the two?"

Find out what's happening in your area by adding your postcode below

The couple have worked in the food industry both in the UK, with a country food led pub many years ago, and in Spain, with a burrito bar which they closed when they moved back to Liverpool in 2017.

Upon their return, Chris and Germaine had wanted to open a vegan burrito bar like they'd had in Spain, but were surprised to see just how many burrito bars had opened up in Liverpool while they were abroad.

Chris said: "We opted to open up the city centre's first fully vegan restaurant and we called it Veggie Republic. We were stuck between two names, Veggie Republic and Planet Vegan, so we decided to open up another brand called Planet Vegan later down the line.

"We went for Veggie Republic because at the time (2017), we felt veganism had a bit of a stigma and people thought it was a bit militant - we just wanted people to try our food which was aimed at people who were curious about plant based foods.

"Planet Vegan is a different concept - it's more fun, less formal and more like a vegan McDonald's style experience but with Veggie Republic's quality.

"A lot of work has gone into the menu and even though it may seem like a diner, the food is restaurant quality."

Chris said his family are very supportive of the new diner.

He explained: "Our family are all excited for us as they know how hard we have worked on Veggie Republic. As for our friends, we haven't seen any for over a year - once we opened back up from the last lockdown, we worked solid getting back off the ground again only to be locked back down again, so when we do see them I am sure they will be thrilled for us."

The couple hope Planet Vegan will be a firm fixture on buzzing Lark Lane.

Chris said: "Our hopes for Planet Vegan is to have a lasting success on the lane as we feel it fits right in to the vibe of Lark Lane, being quirky and different. We are also hoping to bring Planet Vegan to other areas which would be awesome."

Planet Vegan has been created in the style of a 1950s American diner "with a bit of an 80s twist". Customers can expect traditional American diner food which has been "completely veganised".

Food lovers will be able to order hotdogs, burgers, tex mex, stromboli, pecan pie, sweet potato pie, footlong subs, salad bowls and much more. There'll also be desserts including waffles, vegan Mr Whippy ice cream and more.

Of the decision to open the diner on Lark Lane, Chris said: "My earliest memory of Lark Lane was dining in Maranto's with my in-laws and the kids about 20 years ago, when a guy walked past in nothing but his underwear and a pair of boots - no-one batted an eyelid.

"That is what I love about the lane, it attracts all walks of life - the variety of independent shops is incredible, the bars and restaurants are all so diverse, the community spirit of the businesses is wonderful.

"Everyone helps each other out and the community itself is incredibly close knit - it's like no where else in the city."

Planet Vegan is due to open by March 19. Under current lockdown rules, hospitality businesses are allowed to open for takeaway until, provisionally April 12, when outdoor table service is permitted.