Ask any Metro Detroit vegan or vegetarian about the area's dining options and they will likely fess up to one simple fact—there aren't many. While plenty serve sparing vegetarian options, few dare to serve vegan and only a handful of establishments cater solely to plant-based lifestyles. Enter GreenSpace Café, a new vegan restaurant under construction on 9 Mile in Ferndale.
As the son of Joel Kahn, a local cardiologist and "American's Holistic Heart Doc," co-owner Daniel Kahn knows how challenging it can be to eat out as a vegan. "There was a void in the marketplace," he says. By creating GreenSpace Cafe, he hopes to make life a little easier for this community by offering a plant-based, oil-free menu.
Ferndale, he says, was an ideal location with plenty of foot traffic. "I think in that [in Ferndale] there are a lot of health-conscious people," noting that several locations within a few blocks of the storefront offer vegan options.
Chef George Vutetakis, who formerly owned Inn Season Café and is director of research and development for Garden Fresh Gourmet, is taking charge of food preparation and is still finalizing the menu; however, Daniel says that the bistro's offerings will likely include wraps, soups, and salads prepared primarily with organic and local ingredients. At the end of December, GreenSpace Café also secured a license to serve beer, wine, and liquor.
The 1,700-square-foot venue will sit approximately 60 people indoors; however, plans include an outdoor patio, which will easily seat 40 diners in the summer. Daniel says they expect to hire between 25 and 35 staff members to operate the restaurant.
Stylistically, the bistro will have a contemporary feel with "earthy, rustic" details like wooden pallets on the walls. Daniel says that the plans are evolving from early renderings (seen above) for GreenSpace. They've uncover "hidden gems" during the build-out. Pulling down drywall in the former Maria's Front Room space, Daniel says they discovered exposed brick, which they now plan to incorporate into the final vision.
Daniel expects the restaurant to open sometime between late February and early March.
Correction: This article previously noted that chef George Vutetakis was "formerly" with Garden Fresh Gourmet. Vutetakis still works with Garden Fresh. Additionally, the lead image has been updated to reflect the current name of the cafe.