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LaRayia’s Bodega, an organic, vegan bodega based out of Los Angeles, will open its first location outside of the City of Angeles with an outpost on the first floor of Ponce City Market’s Central Food Hall in fall 2021, according to a press announcement this week.
From Founder LaRayia Gaston, the grab-and-go takeaway counter will feature “bright and colorful” vegan fare showcasing powerhouse ingredients like organic fruits and vegetables, teas, juices, and more. It will be the second plant-based eatery for the development, joining the recently-opened Bar Vegan.
LaRayia’s Bodega in Atlanta will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner with Caribbean and Puerto Rican influences. The fruit- and vegetable-forward menu will feature vegan breakfast items like overnight oats and parfaits, bites like Jamaican Jerk Jackfruit Tacos with mango salsa and Vegan Ceviche, along with vegan comfort foods like chili, cornbread, and collard greens. Specials will change throughout the year with items such as soups and salads of the day featuring seasonal produce.
To drink, guests can choose from assorted juices, lemonades, and teas like Black Girl Magic Lemonade with activated charcoal and Moon Tea, LaRayia’s spin on a vegan chai tea. Beverages will come in a branded bottle specific to the bodega’s Atlanta location.
“We want to make it easy to eat vegan and feel good,” Gaston said in a prepared statement. “Our aim is to take familiar recipes and pump them up a notch with ingredients made from the freshest produce. We can’t wait to bring some of what we love from our Los Angeles bodega to Atlanta and support the local homeless community through Lunch on Me.”
Influenced by LaRayia’s Caribbean upbringing and the Atlanta community, the space will be “playful and bright with rich colors and design elements” like leopard print grocery bags, neon signs, and original paintings from LaRayia. Some menu items will even contain edible glitter. In addition to food, guests will be able to purchase branded merchandise such as hoodies, tees, bucket hats, and more.
In 2018, Gaston directed the documentary 43 Days on Skid Row where she spent 43 days living on LA’s Skid Row. Following her experience, she founded the non-profit Love Without Reason in 2015, which runs Lunch On Me — an initiative dedicated to ending starvation while providing opportunities to enrich the mind, body, and spirit of homeless communities in LA and now, Atlanta. Lunch on Me serves 10,000 organic meals six days a week to people on Skid Row; In Atlanta, the non-profit will hand out free vegan food at Woodruff Park every Friday.
Continuing her philanthropic passions, Gaston opened the first LaRayia’s Bodega in LA’s Westlake neighborhood in August 2019 to provide nutritious, inexpensive meals and snacks to anyone who needs them; every item costs less than $5 at the LA location thanks to donations from companies like Healthade and Sakara Life.