Typically, it’s a shared love of food that bring food business partners together, but for Trio Plant Based, that’s only the beginning.
After Sarah and Dan Woodcock decided as a couple to go vegan in concern for animal welfare, their journey took them deeper into social justice issues than they could have imagined.
As the Woodcocks became increasingly concerned and active community members, they joined a group of activists in a Black Lives Matter march. As it turns out, the march would be a serendipitous one, as their future friend and business partner, Louis Hunter would also be there that day. And their three lives (a trio, as it would come to be known) would be forged in ways that would bond them forever. After that particular protest, the Woodcocks heard about a fundraising event in support of Hunter, who had been arrested that day and would go on to face 20 years of incarceration for rioting, a charge he vehemently denies. The Woodcocks, who knew they were also at that same protest, and were not facing any charges, knew they had to do something. Thanks to their tenacity, says Hunter, the charges he faced were dropped, but not before a year long ordeal where he lost almost everything. In their many conversations and meetings, the Woodcocks learned that Hunter was interested in starting a food truck. The Woodcocks were considering a plant based restaurant. The continuity seemed natural. “You know, Sarah and Dan and I seem to catch things the same way. We’re always on the same page about everything,” says Hunter. So I said to them one day, “You know, we’re three of a kind.” When they started their business plan, Three of a Kind Plant Based was their working name. But as they continued along on their concept, it evolved into Trio, and they’ve been Trio ever since. While Hunter never had any aspiration to have a vegan food business, or even to be vegan for that matter, he says the turn of events has been the best part of the venture--next to his friendship with the Woodcocks. “It’s a whole new world,” he says. Over the course of their time together, the three have extensively researched plant based eating, all the while getting ever more convinced that animal product-free eating can be just as good, and even better than the alternative. Hunter’s four young daughters have even got on board. The lasagne in the Hunter household is now made with tempeh instead of ground beef. That delicious lasagne is also the Trio recipe, one of their signature dishes. “It may be plant based, but it’s eating regular,” says Hunter, a message he wants everyone to keep in mind. Like burgers, cake, ranch dressing and lasagne regular. “Trio is a team for the community, to help change eating habits, and change health. “I’m taking this message to my community.” Trio plans to open a restaurant in the Uptown area by the end of summer. It will be the first local vegan restaurant owned by people of color. They credit the Northside Food Business Incubator Program (NFBI) for giving them pop-up space at Breaking Bread, allowing them a low-cost option for kitchen space, and access to general food industry knowledge and guidance. Trioplantbased.com About the Author: Mecca Bos has always been envious of other writer’s clever bios. The cleverest thing she’s ever accomplished is managing to turn a love of eating, drinking, and parties into a career of sorts. It doesn't pay much, but the dividends in friendships and truffle fries are bountiful. In between bites, she writes for various national and local publications. She also works the odd shift in random professional kitchens. You can see more of her work at meccabos.com