After 34 years serving vegetarian and vegan cuisine in Ferndale, Om Cafe will closed its doors in August. Owners Jessica Norwood and chef Madu Helsel announced on Monday evening that the restaurant would close permanently at the end of the month.
“My husband and I met at the OM, became engaged there, and met so many wonderful people and built so many glorious memories,” the pair wrote in a lengthy message shared on Facebook. “After many years of tireless dedication, it’s with a heavy heart that I inform you that OM Cafe will be closing its doors.” The couple cited financial challenges as the main factor leading to the closure. Earlier in the day the restaurant had posted that it was unable to open “due to lack of staff.”
A local staple for homestyle vegan and vegetarian food along Woodward Avenue, Om Cafe has faced challenges over the years. Former owner Jason Thibodeau tried unsuccessfully to sell the restaurant in 2011. Following the departure of longtime staff members Norwood and Helsel in September 2014, Thibodeau again placed the restaurant up for sale. Several months later, the restaurant reopened under Helsel and Norwood’s ownership with help from a partner and longtime customer Bill Blondy.
Despite maintaining its loyal following and high ratings on crowdsourced review sites like Yelp and Google Reviews and amid the seemingly growing regional interest in vegan cuisine, Om Cafe has faced increasing competition from other vegan restaurants in the area such as nearby high-end vegan restaurant GreenSpace Cafe. The impending closure adds to an already lengthy list of summer restaurant closures — many striking longtime establishments.
Om Cafe is expected to reopen on Wednesday, July 18 for dinner and will serve a rotating daily menu for the next two weeks.