Angela Means Kaaya is best known for playing Felisha in the classic 1990s movie Friday, but the actress is gaining momentum as a vegan soul food chef. After abruptly closing the Jackfruit Cafe’s Crenshaw location in February, Kaaya relocated to the former Rawkin’ Juice in Santa Monica. The chef anticipates a late June or July opening, which Kaaya describes as a test-run, but it sounds more like a pop-up.
Kaaya describes Jackfruit Cafe as an elevated vegan Chipotle. With two types of beans, jasmine rice, and two seasoned jackfruits, diners can take away pasta, wraps, tacos, burritos, or bowls.
Last September, Kaaya opened Jackfruit Cafe inside King’s Donuts on Crenshaw. Kaaya shared the shop’s small kitchen space, and kept churning out vegan jackfruit dishes to welcoming crowds. Kaaya was surprised at the response, and worked around the clock to meet the high demand. As Kaaya’s customers took over the most of the space, the owners asked her to leave on February 28. Eater reached out to King’s Donuts owners, but has not heard back.
Things started looking up when Kaaya connected with former partner and beverage company Nature’s Best, which also owns Rawkin Juice. Kaaya sold a juice bar to the company in 2017. The owners asked Kaaya to take over the 200 square foot space, after closing the Montana Avenue juice bar. And while the exterior Rawkin Juice banner will stay put for now, but the interior will be 100 percent Jackfruit Cafe, with limited outdoor seating.
Kaaya hinted that she‘s also working on a second location. The new spot will return to either Jefferson Park or Leimert Park.
Jackfruit Cafe. 705 Montana Avenue. Santa Monica, CA