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avatar for Kirsten Ussery

Kirsten Ussery

Detroit Vegan Soul
Co-owner & General Manager
Kirsten Ussery is co-owner & general manager of Detroit Vegan Soul, Detroit’s premiere vegan soul food restaurant with locations in Detroit’s historic West Village and Grandmont Rosedale neighborhoods.

Prior to becoming a restaurateur, Kirsten spent over ten years building her professional communications career, seven years spent at a Japanese auto supplier company and a stint at a PR agency. She also directed communications and community outreach for a roundtable of Michigan’s top executives, Downtown Detroit Partnership’s initiative to build the city’s first light rail line and for Detroit’s City Council.

Her life changed when she and partner, co-owner & executive chef Erika Boyd, became vegan hoping to break the cycle of disease in their families. Their personal journeys became a mission to not only change the trajectory of their own lives but to break the cycle of disease in the community as well. Together, they spent about a year developing vegan dishes based on traditional recipes, replicating those familiar textures and tastes while remaining conscious of nutritional value. They started selling meals for delivery, catering events and doing pop-up shops and in 2012 opened their first sit-down restaurant in West Village.
Kirsten has not only helped create two successful and unique restaurants in Detroit, but is challenging people through these outlets to look beyond the standard American diet and rethink their relationship with food. Her restaurants are providing quality, healthy options for a community with disproportionate rates of obesity and other diet related diseases compared with other cities.

Kirsten is a graduate of the D:hive BUILD program which is based on a nationally recognized curriculum, constructed especially for Detroit, to support entrepreneurs in the process of turning their ideas for a program, project or business into action.

In eight weeks, BUILD participants focus on sustainability, durability, scale and potential replication; hear from community experts on entrepreneurship; and create a business plan in a collaborative environment.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a Masters in Education from Wayne State University.