For the past two years, Cleveland Vegan has served the growing vegan community in Cleveland through its catering and personal chef services company. Come late fall, the popular catering company will serve an expanded retail customer base from its new Lakewood storefront.
From rented commercial space in Lakewood, husband-and-wife partners Laura Ross and Justin Gorski have been catering large events, cooking for small get-togethers, and preparing meals for health-conscious families.
“We knew there was a need for a vegan caterer when we launched our company two years ago, but even we didn't realize how much of a need there would be,” explains Ross. "It’s been an explosive beginning.”
That demand led the couple to begin searching for a more permanent home. After scouring Tremont, Ohio City and Detroit Shoreway, they ended up right back where they started.
“We live in Lakewood; I wanted to stay in Lakewood,” she says.
Build-out will begin immediately on the 2,300-square-foot space at 17112 Detroit Avenue, formerly Wings Hobby Shop. When completed in November, the space will feature a 10-table café, retail bakery and catering kitchen. The menu will be constantly in flux, but it will always be 100-percent vegan, including offering the city’s first all-vegan Sunday brunch.
“There will always be something fresh, something local, something plant-based.”
Clearly, the demand for vegan (and vegetarian) food is on the rise in Greater Cleveland, and specifically in Lakewood and the near-west side of town.
“People have been asking us constantly when we are going to open,” adds Ross. “There are so many recent studies that show the health benefits of a plant-based diet. Even those who occasionally eat meat are eating more vegetarian and vegan food.”
Ross, who is eight months pregnant, calls the vegan cuisine: “user friendly, familiar food that doesn't alienate omnivores.”