Vegan and gluten-free Shimmy Shack expands with brick and mortar restaurant in Plymouth

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News
Shimmy Shack nachos. The owner of the food truck will open a brick and mortar restaurant in Plymouth at the end of this month.

Restaurateur Debra Levantrosser knows that eating vegan isn't just a fad. 

Owner of the Shimmy Shack food truck, which serves a totally vegan and gluten-free menu, Levantrosser has been eating a plant-based diet that is free of animal products for nearly 30 years.

For the past five years that she's been running the truck, Levantrosser has seen the demand for her food grow, and she's gearing up to open a brick-and-mortar Shimmy Shack restaurant later this month in Plymouth. She said she chose this suburb after doing her research. 

"When I did the research on where the vegan restaurants currently are, and where there were gaps and where there is a population of vegan people, it really became clear to me that Plymouth was the perfect location," she said. The chef was trying to find a location with a drive-through window, but that proved to be nearly impossible. Instead they've nestled in a former consignment shop in a strip mall at 1440 Sheldon in Plymouth. 

Falafel pita from Shimmy Shack. The owner of the food truck will open a brick and mortar restaurant at the end of this month.

The Shimmy Shack restaurant will serve the same plant-based menu folks familiar with the food truck have come to crave, including a falafel pita, "burgers" and fries, nachos and vegan shakes. Again, the food is plant-based and gluten-free, making the whole menu fair game for diners with those kinds of dietary restrictions. 

Levantrosser says her burger, which is her top seller, is made with a lentil and brown rice patty and topped with vegan melted cheese along with the standard burger toppings. The vegan cheese is tapioca-based and Levantrosser describes it as "freaking amazing." The milkshakes — chocolate, strawberry and cookie monster — are made with soy and rice milk. 

The vegan burger is the most popular menu item on the Shimmy Shack food truck. A brick and mortar location opens later this month in Plymouth.

The vegan chef sees her business as a restaurant and food truck that is unique and fun, and just happens to be vegan and gluten-free. She's hoping that with the opening of the brick-and-mortar Shimmy Shack will help build a community with a space for kids, a vegan marketplace and parties like a vegan trick-or-treating event near Halloween.  

The vibe in the cafe will be casual, with fast counter service instead of table-side service. The decor will be a mix of 1950s vintage, re-purposed and up-cycled decor (no leather). 

Shimmy Shack in Plymouth is expected to open by the end of the month. Visit for updates. Once open, the shack will have service 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Sunday will be available for private events only, such as birthday parties and showers.

Twitter: @melodybaetens