Denisse and Carlos Lopez are on a mission to normalize buying healthy food. They believe their community deserves better food options and that eating high-quality food is easier when it is accessible and affordable. That’s why they’re opening a healthy lifestyle cafe in the heart of Southwest Detroit.
The couple co-owned the Michigan Squeeze Station on Michigan Ave. The Squeeze Station was known for smoothies, infused lemonades, and a welcoming place for the community to network and exhibit art. They recently parted ways with the Michigan Squeeze Station, focusing instead on their new venture.
Vámonos is still under construction but will be located on a popular strip on Vernor Hwy., between community favorites Pizza Plex and Flowers of Vietnam. The concept behind Vámonos is for it to be more than a restaurant.
First, the couple wants to expand healthy food options. The new menu includes juices made with organic beets, carrots, ginger, turmeric, spinach and apples, all sourced from Eastern Market. Smoothies will be made with coconut water and almond milk – not dairy. The wraps themselves will be homemade and most wraps will be vegetarian. They also plan to have the classic Mexican tortas with jalapenos, queso fresco, and avocado.
“All the food will be made in house. We’re going to grow the herbs and leafy greens,” Lopez said. “The menu will be healthy and fun. We won’t make it with Ingredients unknown to the community.”
Lopez says her dishes will be prepared with love using locally-sourced ingredients.
In February 2022, Lopez had a health scare and drastically changed her diet. She went vegan and ate raw foods, fresh salads, juices and vegetable spreads. She believes that by changing her diet, she was able to improve her health.
“If I can use my personal story to help anybody, I’d love to do it,” Lopez said.
In addition to providing healthy food, they want to double as a creative community space.
“We have about three or four different schools nearby,” Lopez said. “I would love to offer the space for kids to come to do homework after school.”
Every inch of Vámonos will be used for wellness, including the basement, where she will have fitness classes like baila dance, yoga, and strength training.
For Lopez, wellness also means wellness for the planet. At Vámonos, all products will be offered in 100% bio-degradable containers. Vámonos partnered with Detroit recycling centers to offer workshops for the community to practice recycling and create awareness.
Vámonos will open in the Spring of 2023. Supporters can help Vámonos by donating to their GoFundMe page now through the early months of 2023.
Angela Gallegos is Capricorn, a writer, special projects manager, voice actress, and native SW Detroiter. She is a creative changemaker passionate about wellness and justice in her community and the world and a graduate of Wayne State University.