While you may know Angela Means Kaaya from her role in the iconic movie Friday, she’s spent the last few years making a name for herself in a new industry—vegan soul food. The founder of Jackfruit Cafe, Kaaya has quickly developed a loyal following of Angelenos hungry for authentic flavors and healthier options.
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Jackfruit Cafe’s first location was in the food desert of Jefferson Park, surrounded by fast food restaurants in the middle of the concrete jungle. If you ever visited this location, you may remember that Kaaya played jack-of-all-trades—taking orders, serving tables, and preparing and cooking up the food all on her own. Since then, the cafe has evolved, and you can now find it at the Colony in West LA.
How It All Began
Growing up on a farm, Kaaya spent a lot of time around animals and very quickly learned to love them. From the moment she looked into the eyes of her family cow, she wanted to go vegan. Now, years later, she has made that dream a reality, and the cafe has become a staple on the LA soul food scene.
Kaaya was heavily involved in helping feed 300 kids a day who came in for summer camp at her family’s farm, so she’s no stranger to feeding the masses! She’s always enjoyed cooking for others, and that love was a driving factor in the opening of Jackfruit Cafe.
As you can imagine, Jackfruit Cafe’s menu is centered around … jackfruit! You can order a burrito stuffed with sauteed jackfruit, sliders dripping with BBQ jackfruit, or even cashew mac ‘n’ cheese along with grilled jackfruit in the restaurant’s Jackfruit Bowl.
But don’t think that this means the flavors are limited, because that’s far from the case! Kaaya has been blowing local Angelenos away with her taste combinations for years now, and the current menu is packed with amazing flavor.
You can’t go wrong with ordering the Jackfruit Bowl, which comes piled with jackfruit, mac ‘n’ cheese, sauteed cabbage, lima beans, plantains, and hot water cornbread. With this bowl, you get the option of choosing your jackfruit marinade. Options include Original, BBQ, Korean BBQ, Carnitas, Teriyaki, and Jerk.
They even have jackfruit smoothies, which are equally good as a meal replacement or to go alongside your entree. Jackfruit has a sweet flavor to it when ripe, and many of the smoothies are also sweetened with dates and plantains, making them filling and downright delicious. Smoothie flavors rotate daily, but recent selections have included Chocolate Jackfruit and Jackfruit Coconut.
If you’re not sold on the idea of jackfruit, don’t worry, there’s plenty of options for you, including brownie bites, spring rolls, and smothered fries. The cafe just had their third anniversary, and to celebrate, Kaaya has launched a new Nashville Vegan Chicken Slider. The sandwich is made with oyster mushrooms and Nashville hot sauce, and you can order it now.
Where to Find Jackfruit Cafe
The shared kitchen space at the Colony has become a popular and feasible option for many small businesses in LA, as they are able to operate as a shared space with all the benefits of a full restaurant without the price tag of a brick and mortar in the heart of LA. Kaaya calls the Colony “the future of dining,” and is eager for new customers to check it out.
So grab some friends, hit up the cafe for takeout, and see what all the hype is about! You can order ahead at ordercolony.com.