Corktown is known for its pubs, historical architecture and variety of foods. In the near future it will be known for tequila tasting.
Southwest Detroit and Corktown are about to get an education in Latin spirits. The future Toma Detroit, a bar and restaurant, anticipates securing a location in the historic neighborhood possibly as early as 2019.
Toma Detroit’s partners recently won the Comerica Bank Hatch Detroit Award for $50,000 and they are seeking additional funding through MotorCity Match. The team’s vision is a tequila and mezcal tasting bar with small Latin dishes to order. Mezcal is regarded as the beverage equivalent of a cousin to tequila.
“Regular tequila is a mix,” says Tony Lopez, one of Toma’s partners. “It’s 51 percent agave and the rest could be 49 percent alcohol. That gives tequila a bad image and leaves nasty hangovers. We want to educate people about the difference in tequila and mezcals the right way.”
Lopez says Corktown was chosen out of a need to bring a Hispanic-owned business to the area. The look of the bar will resemble the surroundings of Oaxaca, Mexico and will have a rooftop patio. The business is a partnership between Lopez and his high school friends Corey McIntosh, Eddie Vargas and Jose Maldonado. Lopez’ family, which owns the Tequila Cabresto, the La Esquinita Convenience Store, and Lopez Tire Repair, will also support the venture.
“Southwest Detroit runs through our blood,” he says.
Establishing businesses helped bring life back to the community where he grew up, Lopez says. There weren’t a lot of ventures, but his father Silverio took a chance and started the tire shop.
“I think we give value to the corner where we are,” he adds. “Now we’re surrounded by businesses.”
Juan Carlos Dueweke-Perez, owner of Featherstone Moments, says he has worked with Lopez on various business projects including marketing and social media management for Toma Detroit and public relations connections for Tequila Cabresto.
“He tries to see what he can do by asking questions,” Dueweke-Perez says. “I can’t say why it’s important to him, but I can say how he shows it. He has deep admiration for his family.”
Dueweke-Perez has known the Lopez family since 2002, since he sold goods to the tire shop, and says he’s gotten closer to the family in the last four years.
Sonia Lopez, vice president of Cabresto Imports Corp. and Lopez’ sister, says entrepreneur’s blood runs through her brother.
“He doesn’t just stay in his comfort zone, he tries to venture out,” she says. “Little by little, we’re all contributing to the community. It makes me feel proud of our family, where we’re from and what we do.”
For more information follow Toma Detroit on Facebook.
Editor’s Note: This small business feature is sponsored by Bank of America. To learn more about Bank of America’s many programs and resources for small business owners visit: https://www.bankofamerica.com/smallbusiness/business-financing.go.