Detroit Gets One Of Its First Vegetarian Restaurants

By Christy Strawser
CBS Detroit Managing Editor
Barbecue, coney dogs, satisfying soul food, seafood — sure — but Detroit isn’t known as an oasis of veggie cuisine.

Is that about to change?

Seva, the popular vegetarian haven in Ann Arbor since 1973, opened one of the first all-vegetarian restaurants in Detroit with a Midtown location, breakfast, lunch and dinner fare. It joins the other veggie tale in town, Raw Cafe on Woodward.

The Seva menu includes classics: squash ravioli with chargrilled wild mushrooms, tofurkey wellington, General Tso’s cauliflower, vegan macaroni and cheese, spinach enchiladas, black bean and sweet potato quesadillas, chargrilled vegetable and goat cheese salad.  There’s a full bar and cocktails like fresh strawberry and lime margaritas.

So, with thriving restaurant rows in places like Birmingham and Royal Oak close by, why did they choose Detroit?

“We chose to go to the city because of the great energy, especially the youth, the energy, people really trying to shape the city and their vision, that sort of added to it. You can’t find that in the suburbs, we could have monetary success in the suburbs,” said Lauren Trendler, general manager of the new Seva location in Midtown.

The hope is to gather foot traffic from Midtown’s stalwarts including Wayne State University, DMC, and the nearby theaters.

“We’ve got great opporutnities for foot traffic,” Trendler said, adding that many businesses were lightly staffed over the holidays, but Seva was still relatively busy.

Word is just starting to trickle out about the restaurant that had a soft opening December 17. At the helm is chef Matteo Burns, a native Detroiter who led kitchens in Boulder and Chicago before coming back to Detroit, specifically for the opportunity at Seva.

Visitors to the 66 E. Forest location will find it much different than the Ann Arbor location, with an airy feel and urban industrial touches throughout.

So, will Detroiters embrace the veggie life? Trendler thinks so.

“Obviously, the culture is shifting and vegetarian, vegan eating is mainstream at this point, especially with the attention it gets in the press, it’s definitely more of a hospitable climate than its was five years ago,” Trendler said.

Seva is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Call 313-974-6661 or visit

seva 2 Detroit Gets One Of Its First Vegetarian Restaurants

(Photo: Lauren Trendler)

  • Silly Mad

    Very cool! Will definitely put on my 2012 bucket list of restaurants to try!

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