Felisha From ‘Friday’ Brings New Vegan Jackfruit Cafe to Santa Monica

Felicia from Friday

Vegan chef and former actor Angela Means Kaaya, perhaps best known for her role as Felisha in the 1995 cult hit film “Friday,” has announced plans to re-open her plant-based Jackfruit Cafe at a new, bigger location, Eater LA reports.

Means’ plant-based cafe, which she described as “an elevated vegan Chipotle,” opened last September inside King’s Donuts in Los Angeles’s Crenshaw neighborhood. But due to the overwhelming customer demand that required Means to work around the clock in order to keep up, paired with the shop’s small, shared kitchen space, the owners asked Means to leave in late February. The menu, which focuses on jackfruit-centric vegan soul food, had been a surprise hit with customers.

The vegan chef has now found a new space to set up shop, in a 200-square-foot space that once housed Rawkin’ Juice in Santa Monica. Means says the new Jackfruit Cafe location will open in late June or July for a test run. The former actor also hinted at a second location, with sights set on Jefferson Park or Leimert Park.

Last year, Means expressed enthusiasm at bringing healthier, plant-based food to a lower-income neighborhood: “All I can say is that the spirit led me. And now I have a vegan cafe in the hood.” Shortly after the opening, she said that her small, Black-owned vegan business was a welcome addition to the community and noted her customer base’s growing consciousness surrounding the health side-effects of meat and dairy. “People were like, ‘Oh my god, thank you. Where have you been? People are waking up now, watching films like ‘What the Health.’ A lot of younger people are getting their older relatives to come in.”

Means herself has been vegetarian for the majority of her life and now follows a vegan lifestyle. In the former Jackfruit Cafe space, the vegan woman of color was the sole owner, chef, and employee (taking on prep work, cooking, serving, and cashiering), exhibiting a strong work ethic and drive to provide accessible vegan food to locals. On the menu, diners can expect to find familiar, plant-based takes on comfort food centered around jackfruit, such as BBQ jackfruit, jerk jackfruit, curry, tacos, and “Soul in a Bowl,” which comes with Caribbean sides like rice and beans and plantains.

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