A wellness-focused café is set to open this spring in Cascade Township.
Longtime Cascade resident Ken VanderVeen said Monday that renovations are underway on a former Wendy’s restaurant at 6080 28th St. SE in Cascade Township to transform it into a Clean Eatz franchise location.
Construction began in December, and VanderVeen is aiming to open the location this spring.
Clean Eatz specializes in preparing delicious, properly portioned meals and will offer meal plans, catering, grab-and-go meals and indoor dining.
This will be the second Michigan location for the franchise. The other is in West Bloomfield Township.
“I did a lot of research on a number of corporate and (entrepreneurial) opportunities, and this one was a clear choice,” VanderVeen said. “Maybe, more importantly, it’s the one that got me the most excited. Everything added up: the product, the approach and the mission of being the first step to living a healthy lifestyle and being a positive force in people’s lives.”
VanderVeen has a finance background and worked at Amway for 23 years.
“Professionally and personally, I’m glad I landed on this opportunity,” he said.
Grand Rapids residents will be able to order meals that balance protein, carbs and fats prepared to order in the café and can order weekly meal plans from the Clean Eatz website prepared for pickup every Thursday through Sunday. Customers who have dietary restrictions can choose from an array of gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan build-your-own bowls, salads, burgers, wraps, flatbreads and sandwiches.
VanderVeen said he is a big believer in healthy eating.
“I dug deep after coming to grips with some health concerns and decided that I needed to make some important changes,” he said. “As a result, I started paying more attention to fitness, including seeking out and eating healthier foods. I’ve made some good progress so far and have dropped some pretty substantial weight. I’m feeling great.”
VanderVeen plans to establish relationships within the fitness industry — including working with area gyms and health facilities within the cafe’s proximity — to promote Clean Eatz’s healthy eating options.
“That was part of the attraction of this location: There are 10 gyms within a 1-mile radius,” he said. “Add to that an excellent mix of nearby business and residential communities, and it makes for a great spot.”
The Cascade location will be the first of two Clean Eatz Cafes serving greater Grand Rapids.
“Obviously, it’s been a really challenging year for restaurants,” said VanderVeen, referring to restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “In fact, many of my local favorites continue to struggle or have even had to close. Hopefully, the end is in sight. As the restaurant industry starts to free up and come back, I hope to be there with a new alternative for those looking for healthy, convenient and affordable food.”