Southfield (CW50) – When you think soul food, you probably think of dishes with a lot of starch, salt, meats, bread, and other fried ​elements. So, if you heard that soul food could be made using vegan ingredients, would you try it?

In 2010, Erika Boyd and her partner Kirsten Ussery began the process of eating healthier foods, after Boyd’s father had passed away. This led to the idea of taking old family recipes and attempting to make healthy versions of them. Adopting a vegan diet, Boyd and Ussery created soul food dishes, using vegan ingredients, and having family and friends try them out. The dishes became instant hits, so the two began writing menus for what would eventually become Detroit Vegan Soul.

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Community Connect Host Lisa Germani, with Erika Boyd, Co-Owner of Detroit Vegan Soul

Boyd, a native Detroiter, had many food influencers in her life. Her mother was a nutritionist who managed a food service program for the City of Detroit, her father co-owned and was a chef for a popular cafe in Detroit, and her grandmother had deep Georgian roots and was a talented soul food cook.

Ussery has a rich entrepreneurial and business background in both North Carolina and Detroit, where she has resided for 20 years. With her entrepreneurial talent and mind for marketing, and Boyd’s talent for cooking, the two were set to open the doors of Detroit’s first all-vegan soul food cafe.

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In 2013, Detroit Vegan Soul opened its first brick and mortar restaurant in Detroit’s Historic West Village. Four years later, a second location was opened in Northwest Detroit’s Grandmother Rosedale neighborhood. The mission behind Detroit Vegan Soul is to offer flavorful, 100% plant-based soul food to vegans and non-vegans. All of the dishes are created from scratch, using mostly organic ingredients and are locally sourced, when available. This helps provide a healthy alternative to the soul food that generations of people know and love, while maintaining the rich, memorable flavors for which soul food is known.

Erika Boyd joins Lisa Germani on Community Connect to discuss why she chose to focus on soul food when creating a vegan restaurant and why it was important to provide a vegan option to the community.

We live in a time where locally owned restaurants need all of the help they can get, so if you’re looking for a vegan take-out meal, go to DetroitVeganSoul.com

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