Ready to have your hearts warmed, people of the Twin Cities?
You may recall the story of Louis Hunter, the protester who was arrested by St. Paul Police on two counts of felony riot in 2016, and Sarah and Dan Woodcock, the couple who pressured the prosecuting attorney’s office until the trumped-up charges were dropped.
As it turns out, that was just the beginning of a blossoming friendship; the three have only grown closer since Louis was cleared of wrongdoing in August. “Ever since then, I had a new friend,” he tells City Pages. “Sarah’s been there for me 100 percent. Through my case and after the case, she’s still there for me.”
“It just feels so natural, it feels like we’ve been friends forever,” Sarah adds. “We come from really different backgrounds, and we became friends over sharing ideas with, and supporting each other.”
Louis lost his car and his home in the fallout from that arrest. The Woodcocks, meanwhile, have stuck by him, offering support as he rebounds from those injustices and works to build a better life for himself and for his four daughters. And soon, their friendship will take on a new life: The trio is opening a vegan restaurant together. Sarah shared the news in a heartfelt Facebook post last week (which we’ve included in full below).
“As our friendship grew, we really wanted to use whatever skills or opportunities we might have access to to really help Louis rebuild his life,” she explains. “Not only did the charges get dropped, but could this be a catalyst for something really great in Louis’s life? Could we make this difficult situation into something that really turns the tide and makes a difference?” They’re working under the umbrella business name “Three of a Kind Foods” and have been formulating their plan for about six months now.
Sarah and Dan have been vegan for almost six years, so they know how to make a mean milk-free "mac and cheeze." Louis isn’t vegan, but he’s eating more and more plant-based foods all the time, so we believe him when he says this stuff is so good even carnivores will love it. They hope their new restaurant will provide the people of Minneapolis and St. Paul with a little bit of what she and Dan look for and what they love -- and what’s missing from menus -- when they go out to eat.
“There are restaurants here and there that have great vegan options,” she says. “But when you’re vegan, there’s nothing like the joy of being able to go into a restaurant and everything is in limits instead of off-limits.”
The Three of a Kind team is in the process of securing a space and perfecting recipes, which you’ll be able to try at a February 10 pop-up at Breaking Bread in north Minneapolis. Tickets are limited to 90, but they’re also offering carry-out plates if you don’t score a spot at the sit-down meal.
Sarah says that since announcing their collaboration last week, they’ve heard from plenty of people wondering how they can help. If that sounds like you -- and if you want to show your support financially -- they’re accepting gifts via Paypal at [email protected] (There’s a Kickstarter campaign coming in the near-ish future, too.) You can send an email to that same address with the subject line “Subscribe” to receive updates on the project.
Beyond filling a gap in the Twin Cities’ vegan dining scene, Sarah, Dan, and Louis hope that their restaurant might go one step further, becoming a catalyst for greater social change.
“We really all share this passion for giving back to the community and being an active part of the community, looking out for people who might be having challenging circumstances with being able to find a job -- or even being able to find food,” Sarah says. “We’re making progress, and these dreams are something we think we all can achieve together.”
Here's Sarah's announcement in full: