By Jeffrey Buck
If you haven’t heard yet the final voting for this year’s Hatch Detroit contest is underway. The field of potential winners has been narrowed down to four—Detroit River Sports, Detroit Vegan Soul Cafe, La Feria and Rock City Pies—with voting continuing through noon today.
Kirsten Ussery and Erika Boyd are on a mission to introduce Detroit to a concept that is popular in cities like Chicago, New York and Los Angeles—vegan food. What was created initially as a home delivery and catering business specializing in vegan soul food could very soon become a cafe right here in Detroit. It’s been a lot of work over several months but the duo are fighting to win $50,000 to make the Detroit Vegan Soul Cafe a reality through the Hatch Detroit contest.
“We got started in February of this year,” said Ussery. “People can go online and order either lunch or dinner from us and we deliver to them and we cater events. We joined the Hatch contest to try and win funds to open up a store front, but our meal delivery and catering have been a good test of the market and people are very into this and excited to have another option for vegan food.”
Without a dedicated space for the business, Detroit Vegan Soul makes due with what they have and are ready to move forward with their dream of opening a cafe.
“We are at home right now but are using a kitchen until we can find a more permanent space,” said Ussery. “Our goal is to within the next year be able to open a cafe.”
Having recently become a vegetarian myself I was surprised to find out that a majority of customers are in fact not vegan, but are instead looking for a more healthy option when it comes to food.
“We were pleasantly surprised,” said Ussery. “It’s been a very good reception because I’d probably say about 70 percent or more of our orders come from people who aren’t vegan. They just really love the food and I think people like the idea of being able to have something full of taste and healthy.”
Ussery and Boyd found it difficult at first when they decided to become vegans and are now using their knowledge to help others thinking of making the change.
“We came up with this idea because when we transitioned to vegan it was food like this that helped us and so we wanted to expose people to a different kind of vegan food,” said Ussery. “You can still have vegan food and feel satisfied.”
Ussery, who also works in public relations and Boyd, a hair stylist, have catered events throughout metro Detroit that include the Canfield Street Market, community events and an event for the D:hive. Their business has grown substantially over the last several months by word of mouth and through friends and family. They were also featured on a vegan blog, who’s author visited them while on a trip across the US and fell in love with their vegan pulled pork.
The menu offered now is quite simple but would expand significantly when they open a cafe. They offer meals for a single price of $12 which includes a main dish and two sides. They offer both lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday. For more information regarding food options and news be sure to stay up to date through their social media: