He turned lemons into lemonade.
A Minneapolis man is turning tragedy into triumph, opening the first Black-owned vegan restaurant in the city, TODAY reports.
Louis Hunter is the owner of Trio restaurant, the first Black-owned vegan eatery in the city. But Hunter wasn’t always the budding restaurateur he is today, his story began four years prior with the tragic murder of his cousin, Philando Castile, at the hands of police. After Philando’s death, Hunter began to protest for justice along with city residents and much of the world. His activism made him a target. He was falsely accused of throwing rocks at police officers, which led him on a two and a half year journey, fighting a felony charge that could’ve left him serving 20 years in prison.
“Facing the 20 years in prison due to something I knew at the time, I did not do…was one of the craziest experiences in my life. My anxiety was everywhere every day,” Hunter said.
He lost his vehicle and, subsequently, the landscaping business that he worked so hard to build. A couple he met while protesting, Dan and Sarah Woodcock, decided to help him, organizing protests and petitions on his behalf. In 2017, the charges against Hunter were finally dropped.
“We had a celebration in the local park. And at that celebration, I remember saying, ‘What if this became a turning point in your life?’” Sarah told TODAY.
That moment Hunter decided that’s what it would be, a turning point. He began working with the Woodcocks, serving soul food to locals via pop-ups. Eventually, he decided he wanted to turn it into something more permanent, and the group began raising money to get a storefront, with over 600 people donating more than $50,000. In 2018, the group created Trio, and in 2019, Hunter became the sole owner.
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STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING. WE HAVE SOMETHING TO SHARE. New Item Alert ‼️ The Lou Wrap – Cauliflower wings fries then tossed in our homemade BBQ sauce and wrapped in a while grain tortilla with Trio Ranch, diced tomatoes and romaine lettuce. We know you can’t resist the sauciness of the Bbq sauce. We’re open until 7pm and now taking orders until 7pm. I repeat!!! Last orders no longer need to be placed by 6:30. We are taking orders all the way to close! Stop by and try our new wrap. It’s so fire – Trioadvertisement
His plant-based soul food not only tastes good, but is good for diners. It’s the first Black-owned vegan restaurant in the city and features an array of delicious dishes from cauliflower wings to vegan mac and cheese and BBQ jackfruit. His dishes have become a local hit with residents and has kept them coming back for more.
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Yesterday, was such a memorable experience and we would like to say from the bottom of our hearts, thank you. Thank you to everyone who came out and supported us. We were blessed enough to pass out 300 free soul bowls to the community. We are very fortunate to have supporters like you all. We also wanted to let you all know that we are working on a plan to reopen Trio as soon as possible. We want to take the right precautions before doing so. We will be updating you guys shortly of when that day will be. Once again, thank you. Everyone have an amazing day and stay safe. We love you all -Trio
Hunter was reminded of his tragic beginnings when George Floyd was murdered earlier this year and decided to give back by feeding more than 300 protestors in the city.
“It felt amazing. It felt so unreal that Louis Hunter was able to serve the community 300 meals, [when] I could have been in prison praying for the community,” he said.
His entire journey has given him time to reflect on the unfortunate set of circumstances that got him here and on his calling, moving forward to continue to assist as much as he can in the fight for Black lives.
“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have faith. Believe in your higher power. Always try to serve your community, your peers, and have faith because I have faith that one day, Black lives will matter.” Hunter said.
Keep going, Louis! Your story gives us faith!
Photo Courtesy of Trio