Her kids had constant allergies, and Amiya Cleveland was tired of over-the-counter remedies.
“I decided one day to cut out all the meat and get healthy,” the mother of four said.
So she started cooking vegan for her family, which soon turned into cooking meatless meals for friends, and finally, resulted in opening a vegan restaurant in Grand Prairie that opened last year. It’s the city’s first and only all-vegan restaurant, Cleveland said.
Cleveland and her husband, Tytus, run ITSO Vegan, a Black-owned and operated restaurant on the city’s south side, off Robinson and Mayfield roads near the IKEA store.
The popularity of their business, whose dining room is currently closed due to COVID-19, surged from Day 1 with little marketing, Amiya Cleveland said. She runs a salon in the area but had never owned a restaurant.
Despite friends and family encouraging her to open ITSO Vegan, it was hardly an easy endeavor.
“Me and my husband, we didn’t have any money,” Amiya Cleveland said.
They went to local banks, but institutions didn’t want to loan them what they needed.
Amiya points to the city’s lack of grocery stores that are similar to Sprouts Farmers Market and Whole Foods Market, adding that many companies are slow to invest in the area because of its socioeconomic status.
“There are lots of black and brown faces here,” she said.
A cousin provided the Clevelands the money they needed to launch the restaurant, and it’s been a stirring success.
From the country fried dinner — a seitan “chicken” breast served on mashed potatoes with gravy, two sides and bread — to the ITSO classic burger — a pea protein-based patty with vegan cheddar, “bacon” crumbles, fried onions and other traditional garnishes — the menu skews hearty but heart-healthy.
The duo make it a point to hire minority employees, giving back to a community that has welcomed them in the past year.
“No one has allergies anymore,” Amiya Cleveland said of her family. “Colds? We don’t get those anymore. Now, it’s a way of life for us.”
ITSO Vegan is located at 830 Mayfield Road, Grand Prairie, 75052; 469-909-4090. itsovegan.com.
Source: Thanks https://www.dallasnews.com/food/restaurant-news/2020/07/22/the-only-vegan-restaurant-in-grand-prairie-is-a-black-owned-business-success-story/