New vegan soul food restaurant with Caribbean twist opens in Jamaica –

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Chef Holando Shaw and several elected officials celebrated the opening of Real Veggie Cafe with an opening ceremony in Jamaica on Sunday, May 2.

When the original soul food restaurant closed and Shaw seized the opportunity, partnered with the original owner and transformed the restaurant at 106-13 Guy R. Brewer Blvd. in a vegan restaurant.

On the menu, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, plantains, candied yams and other items. Cauliflower and fried mushrooms replace traditional fried chicken. All the dishes on the menu are seasoned with a Caribbean touch, served in a soul food style.

Jamaican-born Shaw said he had started experimenting with plant-based dishes using traditional Jamaican sauces like curry and jerk sauces, which are vegan-based, creating healthier food options. .

Chef Holando Shaw speaks at the grand opening of his restaurant Real Veggie Cafe. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

“We wanted to tackle the whole concept of food insecurity and bring healthier options to the neighborhood,” the chef said, who donated sustainable and healthy food options to seniors, first responders and families in need during the pandemic.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said the new post-COVID normal should also include healthier dining options and adopt a healthier lifestyle.

“When you look at who died during this pandemic, it is very clear that a lot of the people that we have lost, we have lost due to access to health care, but also to the underlying conditions that many residents of our community were faced by crossing disparities in many different areas across the borough, ”said Richards.

He was delighted to see that a vegan restaurant opened in South Queens, which he called a blessing.

“These are the communities where we need to prioritize health care. But also the state of mind according to which we take a certain personal responsibility and we also take responsibility for adapting in some way to a new, healthier eating lifestyle, ”declared the president of the borough.

Councilor Adrienne Adams, whose neighborhood borders vegan cafe, said it was amazing to see what can be done and called the restaurant a welcome addition to Jamaica.

Councilor Adams speaks at the opening of the Real Veggie Cafe. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

“Having establishments like Chef Holando, who brings the Real Veggie Cafe right here to South Jamaica, will have a huge impact on so many people. We look at the students, the residents who will be able to participate in their neighborhood. Eat healthy, what the president of the borough has just said, it’s so good. We need more establishments like this, ”said the city councilor.

Looking forward to the fusion of Jamaican flavors and plant-based soul food, Adams joked, “My husband is vegan. Maybe I’ll be converted too, who knows?

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