LA’s vegan bodega, LaRayia’s, comes to Ponce City Market
An organic and vegan take-out spot will open in the Central Food Hall of the Ponce City Market on December 3. LaRayia Bodega—A Caribbean-inspired boutique focused on philanthropy — opened in Los Angeles in 2019. Impressed by Atlanta’s diversity, founder LaRayia Gaston decided to bring her healthy food to Old Fourth Ward — with a few changes .
Like the California Restaurant, Atlanta’s will serve nutritious prepackaged meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and will focus on Caribbean flavors inspired by Gaston’s Puerto Rican heritage. Unlike the LA Bodega, the PCM location, which replaces 18.21 Bitters, will not be subsidized by businesses and therefore items will cost over $ 5. (La Bodega was originally designed to help fight homeless hunger.) To keep that in mind, LaRayia’s will be offering free vegan food to the homeless in Woodruff Park on Fridays.
“Ponce City Market is different from Westlake. We will eventually have a stand-alone bodega for that elsewhere in Atlanta, ”says Gaston. “Our goal here is to show people that nutrient-dense foods can taste amazing. “
The menu will change daily but can include overnight oats, parfaits, ceviche, Jamaican jackfruit tacos, Puerto Rican mofongo, chili, cornbread and cabbage, all vegan of course. . The drink will feature a magical Black Girl lemonade made with activated charcoal, a spirulina dessert mermaid, and moon tea, a vegan version of Thai turquoise tea.
“Atlanta has capitalized on this vegan junk food movement,” says Gaston. “We are not that. We focus on the farm to table. Green is awesome. Organic is better.
“We don’t use soy products,” she continues. “We’re all natural, herbal and super nutty. It’s about wanting a healthier lifestyle.
We spoke to Gaston to find out more.
Why did you choose Atlanta for your second LaRayia’s?
I believe in signs. We were going to expand in New Jersey, but I felt like the universe kept telling me Atlanta. In January my business partner and I were driving in LA and I told him I thought the deity was pointing to Atlanta. He grabbed her heart and said it was the place of his dreams to live again. (He lived there 10 years ago.)
How did you choose Ponce City Market?
I’m Puerto Rican and “Ponce” is based on a place in Puerto Rico, pronounced “Ponc-e”. I thought it was a sign. I feel like I’m Atlanta’s No.1 spokesperson and fan. I like the diversity. It’s a best kept secret. I bought a place [to live part-time] here because I’m obsessed with it.
What is the goal of making the bodega take out only?
Preparing all of these fruits and vegetables takes time. People want the quality of the food served in restaurants with the time commitment for take out. We don’t compromise integrity while making it work with the on-the-go lifestyle.
How are you going to make the space look like a bodega?
The people in the store will be Caribbean, owners of their heritage. We will have Latin and black music, hip-hop. You will feel like you are walking into my living room. We are a spiritual bodega, focused on mind-body-spirit well-being. We will have bracelets, crystals, and incense for sale.