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Nepantla Cafe Is One Step Closer to Opening, Wins a Motor City Match Grant

Plus, the former Corktown Ima location will be transformed into a refreshing summertime bar

A group of men and women standing for a photo in front of a city of Detroit backdrop. Detroit Economic Growth Corporation
Serena Maria Daniels is the editor for Eater Detroit.

Nepantla Cafe, the forthcoming vegan taqueria and sober-friendly cafe in southwest Detroit, is one step closer to opening its brick and mortar after being awarded a grant as part of Round 22 of Motor City Match, according to Crain’s Detroit. Currently operating as a food truck, Nepantla is receiving $75,000, which is to be used by owner Rocky Coronado, who has spent the past few years renovating the former Charlie Clark’s Bar at 5410 W. Vernor Highway.

Nepantla comes from the Indigenous Nahuatl language referring to the concept of existing between two cultures. Once open, the spot will feature zero-proof mocktails, juices, coffee beverages, plus an array of plant-based dishes inspired by Mexican and indigenous traditions. Folks interested in getting a taste of what Nepantla has on offer, Coronado can usually be found in their newly-built food truck trailer, which continues to operate as a pop-up. Be sure to check out Nepantla’s social media accounts for updates on where to find it.

According to Crain’s, other food-based Motor City Match winners receiving aid this round include: restaurateur David Richter, who got a $35,000 grant to aid in the opening of Alpino Detroit in Corktown; Rob Wilson and Symantha Duggan of Vesper Books & Wine in Core City, who came away with $50,000; and Jameela Simpson, who was awarded a $60,000 grant to help with the opening of Crumbs Cookie Station in Jefferson Chalmers.

Summertown Fresh Bar

Ima’s original location at 2015 Michigan Avenue is undergoing another evolution in time for warmer months with the opening of Summertown Fresh Bar. In an Instagram post published by the noodle shop chain’s owner chef Mike Ransom on Sunday, the spot will feature fruity smoothies and juices, non-alcoholic beverages, and a limited selection of beers, wines, and sakes.

The folks at Ima are accepting applications for a restaurant manager, cooks, baristas, and cashiers, as well as looking for local vendors to stock a small retail section.

Ima relocated just west of the original spot in 2022, but has continued to operate the space as a special events venue and pop-up eatery called Now.