When you want food that is healthy, creative, fast and affordable – that can sometimes be a tall order. A new business in Troy wants to change that by offering chef-driven, vegan meals that are ready when you are at its new brick-and-mortar storefront.
Aratham Gourmet to Go opened this week as an organic deli and market with grab-and-go food by the pound or portioned into meals, all sold in biodegradable packaging. The small shop also sells cold pressed juice, grains, spices, produce, supplements, local products and natural personal care items, including prenatal and postnatal care.
Owners Gabriel and Tiffanie Vera, a husband-and-wife team who have two young kids of their own, started Aratham as a meal delivery service, offering prepared and ready-to-eat vegan meals to customers across Metro Detroit. That business model will continue with the opening of the Troy store.
“What we’re really passionate about is doing the right thing,” said Gabriel, who has worked as a chef with restaurant groups like Andiamo, MGM Grand Detroit and major hotels. “Doing the right thing for people, doing the right thing for the environment. Tiffanie and I believe that we have found our purpose in life … our purpose is to help as much as we can to make another individual healthier.”
Some of the signature dishes at Aratham are the quinoa “crab” cakes with chickpeas, hearts of palm, nori (for that seafood flavor), lemon, celery, zucchini, roasted red peppers, kale, dill, nutritional yeast and a house-made vegan tartar sauce. One serving is just 305 calories and costs $11.99. For more faux seafood, the hearty “lobster” po’ boy sandwich is similar, but served on a crusty loaf of bread.
The Veras also serve breakfast bowls, a blueberry “detox” salad, vegan spaghetti Bolognese and their version of a classic Ruben sandwich with house-made vegan “corned beef,” made from jackfruit or seitan.
“We really try to stay away from any processed food whatsoever … we don’t use any artificial meats like vegan meats,” he said, adding that while they may purchase some ingredients like tortillas, they try to make every element of every dish in house.
Besides offering plant-based foods, another thing that is important to these new business owners is being a zero-waste business. They strive to recycle or compost all the waste produced at Aratham.
Gabriel — who immigrated here from Ecuador 20 years ago and worked his way up in kitchens from dishwasher to be an executive chef who is also a certified sommelier and ice carver — left the corporate restaurant world to start Aratham with Tiffanie. She’s a trained birth and postpartum doula who was also part of the service industry as a former beverage director for local bars. Now they’ve left the profit-driven world for a more holistic approach to business.
“Every business needs to be profitable, but you want to do it for the right reasons without harming the environment,” he said. “We only have one planet and it’s our mission, our goal, Tiffanie and I, to leave it for our children.”
Aratham Gourmet to Go is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat. at 3381 Rochester in Troy. Call (586) 871-0917 or visit aratham.com.
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