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 Post subject: Vegan in East Lansing, MI
PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:13 am 
Tofu Pup
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Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:52 am
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Greetings!

I recently moved from Portland, OR to East Lansing, MI and am in the beginning stages of starting up a small vegan food business here (still unnamed-suggestions are welcome). The ultimate goal is either a storefront or truck location, but in the meantime, we are going to be making baked goods, casseroles/pies etc. for local retail/coffee shops etc. Excited to get going, but a bit concerned about the market here-there aren't many people doing this in the area (if any)...thoughts? I do see vegan items at the health food store, but that is about as far as it goes.

It seems I have to explain the term 'vegan' on a daily basis (which is fine, i like sharing what I know). This being said, my mission is to show people that they can still eat wonderful, flavorful and satisfying foods without animal products. I'd like to give people the option at least, and help make this town a little more livable for people like me, even if just in a small way. In the long run, if the business takes off, it would be cool to be able to host classes or do some kind of community outreach/education/consulting.

I am currently part of a raw food meet up group, but not sure that there is a vegan meet up here? Am trying to get to know local restaurant people and organizations.

Any thoughts, ideas or criticisms are welcome.

Thanks!!


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan in East Lansing, MI
PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 1:34 pm 
Wears Pleather Undies
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Yes! Please, please, please do this. My husband and I moved to East Lansing a year ago and while there are great vegan options in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids, the Lansing area is seriously lacking. The one place I've found a vegan menu was at Sparrow hospital. :( I know a lot of vegetarians and a few vegans, and it is a college town after all, so I think you'd have a market. Good luck and keep us updated!


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 Post subject: it's happening, just needs a good name
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:36 pm 
Tofu Pup
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Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:52 am
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Thanks for the response! I'm moving ahead, everything is falling into place...except for the name.

Any fantastic suggestions? I will be using local, farm-direct and Michigan-made products (as well as organics) as much as possible. Want something that implies either strength, nature or local. Into punk-rock, DIY, clean/simple and enviro-friendly aesthetics have thought about using song titles or lyrics. Not interested in terms like 'sugar' or 'cakes' or anything cutesy, and though I will be using sustainable practices and all enviromentally-friendly packaging yadda yadda yadda, I also don't want to come off as new-age-y with 'healthy' or 'green' in the name. The name has been the toughest part of this so far...


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan in East Lansing, MI
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:56 pm 
Huffs Nooch
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:43 pm
Posts: 134
Location: West Michigan, USA
Not to put the horse ahead of the cart or anything, but have you ever done catering? My fiancee and I want a vegetarian/vegan wedding reception in May and are looking at a couple different options. We are looking at having about 100 people, the majority of whom aren't big into vegan stuff. (P.S. we live like an hour and 15 minutes from East Lansing)

Just looking into all our options!


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan in East Lansing, MI
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:17 pm 
Tofu Pup
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Hey-thanks so much for the post. Depending of course on when we're up and running, catering will probably be an option! When are you planning your wedding? I wouldn't worry about people not being into vegan stuff - at least as far as baked goods and pastries, truly, no one will know the difference. Otherwise, for main dishes as long as you fancy them up, people probably won't be upset that they don't have their chicken or fish :) Depending on the season, I would suggest like beet salad or carpaccio, braised greens, asparagus, and then for your mains do risotto or ravioli or polenta with mushrooms or squash...maybe a veggie shepherd's pie or even a veggie pot pie? I'm hungry and apparently I want pie.

I have just filed my preliminary paperwork and am going to be working on menu items, website, and licensing over the next month. I don't anticipate being operational for at least another month or two (at the soonest) but will keep you posted! The name is "Magic Bus Bake Shop" so look for us soon!

Also-if it is sooner than I can do, there is a restaurant that is about to open here called "Red Haven" and they would certainly be able to make you some wonderful vegan stuff-I would look them up if you are hoping to get your menu squared away sooner. Also, I have heard that there are several vegan restaurants in Grand Rapids, but I'm not familiar with them...hope that this helps a little.

Thanks again and good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan in East Lansing, MI
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:33 pm 
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I live in a suburb of Detroit, and our vegan scene has gotten crazy good over the last few years. I think your venture sounds exciting and inspired. You'll be great! The market is getting better and better. Also, I'm getting married next year too, theCHtotheAD! We're probably having Inn Season (local fancy awesome vegan restaurant) cater it.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan in East Lansing, MI
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:35 pm 
Huffs Nooch
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:43 pm
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Location: West Michigan, USA
I'm certainly not worried about whether people will like vegan food. Living in a family of carnivores and only stepping into the meatless world about three years ago, I know that food can be satisfying and wonderful while still appealing to a mass audience! Plus, it is my wedding afterall! ;)

Your menu ideas sound wonderful! As of now, we are looking into a local food truck catering for us, since we are trying to keep the theme sort of whimsical and picnicky. There are a number of local restaurants that I love too. I was supposed to meet with the owner of one of my faves, but kinda forgot about that until just now!

Also, congrats Dakini! I've heard good things about Inn Season and have wanted to check it out but have only been to the Detroit area a couple times since it's been on my radar and it hasn't worked out to stop by yet. Hopefully next time. In fact, I am now daydreaming about going to a Tiger's World Series game this week and eating at Inn Season...wishful thinking


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan in East Lansing, MI
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:44 am 
Tofu Pup
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Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:52 am
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Hey-
Thank you guys for the posts - wanted to let you know that I am organizing a meetup on November 12 (will post seperate thread, but here is the text version below):

Join us for a friendly, low-key potluck. No big agenda...open to vegans, vegetarians and veg-curious to meet, network, or just get to know like-minded folks who care about the environment and about themselves. 6:30-8ish in the meeting space at East Lansing Food Co-op. Hoping to make this a monthly event. Bring a vegan dish to pass (doesn't have to be anything fancy) and your own drinks. Plates, napkins and cutlery provided.

Mon, Nov 12 6:30 PM
4960 Northwind Drive
East Lansing, MI


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan in East Lansing, MI
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:57 am 
Wears Pleather Undies
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Thanks for organizing the meetup! I'll pass the information along to friends. I'm really excited to get to know more vegans locally.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan in East Lansing, MI
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:14 pm 
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Location: Ann Arbor, MI
I'm much in the same boat as theCHtotheAD. My fiancé and I are getting married in September in Ann Arbor and I've also been in touch with a food cart that's making the transition to restaurant. So I'm going to toss the same question about possibly catering.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan in East Lansing, MI
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:31 pm 
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So, my fiance and I are getting married this spring in Ann Arbor, and I think I know the food cart you're referring to, because they're catering our wedding!! Their food is amazing, and we're really excited!!

I lived in East Lansing for a while, too, and loved it but it wasn't the vegan-est. I'm glad to hear that it's getting more and more vegan friendly!


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan in East Lansing, MI
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:52 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:32 am
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I'm a lifelong Lansing resident, and I have been vegan for 10 years here. There was a vegan place called Green Cuisine in between Bell's Greek Pizza and Tasty Twist on Grand River. It didn't last very long, but was run by a very DIY punk. I'm sure you know by now, but Scott from Everybody Reads Bookstore in Lansing does a vegan potluck up north on Lake Lansing every Sunday ( https://www.facebook.com/EverybodyReads ). I have been meaning to go but Sundays are a terrible day for me. If a real vegan place opened up I would be so happy, we cook most everything but going out is nice and I'm sick of sending food back at El Azteco, and you can only eat so much falafel. At the punk shows we do in Lansing we always have a potluck, but it isn't always strictly vegan but it is meat free.

I host the website for Bartertown Diner which is a vegan farm to table coop restaurant in Grand Rapids which some old band mates of mine opened: http://www.bartertowngr.com

I'm sure you have done a lot of research, but if you have any questions I know they would love to help new vegan places. Are you any closer to commercial food?


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