One Step Beyond Podcast - Mike Dester

Mike Dester Episode

On this episode of One Step Beyond, we are joined by Mike Dester.

Mike Dester is co-owner and co-manager of two top-notch vegan restaurants in Mannheim, Germany called kombuese and

Hausboot, drummer for the iconic hardcore band Spirit Crusher and an animal rights activist. He entered the restaurant business with no restaurant experience and has successfully tackled the challenge head on.

During the episode Mike, Aram and Monica discuss all things vegan. Mike talks about his path into vegetarianism, then veganism, how bad the food was when he first made the change, and how it led him into starting his own restaurant. The food has improved, and the lifestyle has become easier to embrace, but with that comes the interest of big business. Mike, Aram and Monica talk about the benefits and drawbacks of a movement becoming more mainstream and what that means for the future of veganism.

This episode digs deep on how being a business, especially a restaurant, means you are a member of the community. Mike discusses how the community has supported his business and how as business it’s important to give back. This conversation covers company culture and making sure the door is open for everyone, not just vegans, and why this is important. The goal is not to gatekeep, but to welcome people in.


  • The rising popularity of veganism and what that means.
  • The importance of listening to your staff and your guests.
  • Surviving Covid while taking care of the employees and the business.
  • Navigating grief and loss as a small business owner.
  • And much more!

Connect with Kombuse:


Connect with Aram: