LaTresha (LC) and Marc Howland
Husband and wife LaTresha (LC) and Marc Howland found a way to make healthy food taste great with Breadless, a new sandwich shop – minus the bread. She is the chief communications officer and he is the CEO of the Detroit eatery co-founded by the couple, who met through a friend while in college and have been on a path to success ever since.
LC credits Cranbrook Kingswood Schools for shaping her trajectory. “It was a phenomenal experience. I was from Detroit and had a unique opportunity to stay on campus,” she said. LC would go on to Boston University. Marc, who went to Brown University, grew up in Cleveland and the two bonded over being Midwesterners.
Both would go to business school, with Marc earning an MBA from Harvard University and LC from the University of Michigan.
Breadless would come from necessity. “It feels like a lifelong manifestation,” said Marc, who grew up eating fast food, with a single mom who had no time to cook. “My body didn’t respond well to bread or gluten and I couldn’t find an on-the-go option – aside from lettuce wraps instead of bread – that actually tasted good,” he said.
“LC was constantly hearing me vent about the limited options. We wanted a concept that was not an afterthought; we wanted to make it a main-event product. Ultimately, Breadless emerged out of something we never anticipated. It found us. We wanted gluten-free low-carb options that taste good.”
Their experience prepared them to become entrepreneurs. When they lived in New York City, she worked for some of the top marketing and advertising agencies and he was an investment banker on Wall Street.
“LC is great at the marketing and storytelling side,” he said. “Marc has the finance and investing world,” she added.
“We needed somebody who worked in the food industry to really bring it to life,” said LC. They had met Ryan Eli Salter in New York, who brought his culinary background to his roles as co-founder and chief product officer.
Their quick-serve restaurant in Rivertown, where the couple also lives, has no bread or lettuce on the menu. Instead, savory sandwiches like Cloud 9 Pastrami and Chardy B with chicken feature premium ingredients wrapped in collard greens and Swiss chard. There are also options for vegetarians and vegans.
Warm greens bowls are among the other selections. In addition to pick up and curbside service, local delivery is available through Uber Eats and DoorDash.
They originally tested the concept by partnering with local gyms whose patrons would leave notes asking where to get the tasty sandwiches. Pop-ups and catering followed. Recent catering gigs include the Detroit Lions and the Detroit Football Club.
“The challenge was to build something from scratch and there was no other concept we know of specializing in sandwiches made from leafy greens,” said Marc. “We had to figure it out from ground zero, building out the menu, learning how to recruit, train and retain staff and determining all operational procedures and supply chain.”
They are currently looking to expand in metro Detroit with an ultimate goal to bring Breadless to neighborhoods nationwide.
“It’s been extremely rewarding. Customers love it and it’s rewarding being able to provide gainful employment,” LC said. “As someone who is Detroit-born to be able to bring a healthy option to Detroit is so rewarding. People tell us, ‘Thank you for being there.’ This whole area deserves options that are good for them and tasty. The sandwiches are full of flavor and you don’t miss the bread.”
Story: Jeanine Matlow
Photo: Laurie Tennent