Kirsten Ussery and her partner Erika Boyd are planning to open a business called Detroit Vegan Soul with a mission to help people live healthier lives by providing great-tasting, high-quality, nutritious vegan food that appeals to everyone, while at the same time supporting a sustainable earth. At Detroit Vegan Soul, soul food is served with fresh, organic, and completely plant-based ingredients. The menu is prepared with organic produce, natural ingredients and sweeteners, all made without additives, preservatives, refined flours, sugars, dairy, eggs or animal by-products. When the café opens, it will be the first 100% plant-based soul food café in Detroit.
The ladies are semi-finalists in this year’s Comerica Hatch Detroit contest, an annual competition which awards $50,000 and support services to one lucky business start-up chosen by a panel after considering input from online voters.Ussery recently sat down with Huffington Post to further discuss Detroit Vegan Soul. Excerpts from the interview are below.
On the types of meals they will serve:
In the café, we’ll serve many of the same dishes we currently serve in our meal delivery and catering business like Mac –n-cheez, Okra Stew, Bar-b-que Tofu, “Catfish” Tofu, Smothered Tempeh, Kale Salad, Smoked Collard Greens, Seitan Pepper steak, Sweet Potato Pie, and Peach Cobbler. But, we’ll also serve fresh juices, smoothies, sandwiches, etc. All of our ingredients are plant-based, organic, and free of preservatives, additives, refined flours, sugars, dairy, eggs and animal by-products. In support of a sustainable earth, we use bio-degradable packaging.
On their clientele:
We are targeting anyone who wants delicious soul food that’s also nutritious. Many people who currently order meals from our meal delivery service are not vegetarian or vegan. They simply love our food. We’re also getting a lot of support from vegetarians and vegans who are happy to have another option, one that is completely different from anything else available to them. We are the only 100 percent cooked vegan soul food business in Michigan. We believe our concept appeals and attracts everyone, whether vegetarian, vegan, or neither.
If they can afford to open the café if they don’t win the competition:
If we do not win Hatch, it may take us a little longer to open but we are determined to open. There’s a large demand for us. We’ve had so many people from all over Michigan, and even outside of Michigan contact us to say they can’t wait until we open. People who live in other states have said they can’t wait to order food from us when they’re in town and visit our café when it’s open.
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