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New Leimert Park Restaurant Wants to Shine a Healthy Spotlight on the Neighborhood

Swift Cafe opens October 18 in the heart of an historic African-American neighborhood

The interior of Swift Cafe in Leimert Park, Los Angeles.
Swift Cafe
Sheldon Botler
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

A South LA chef hopes to alter the neighborhood dining landscape, which can often lean towards fast food or unhealthy options. Kyndra McCrary plans to open a new health-focused menu on a busy stretch of Crenshaw Boulevard called Swift Cafe on October 18.

The South LA resident began catering in 2009, but Swift Cafe will be her first public-facing restaurant. She’s blocks away from the popular neighborhood spot Taco Mell. McCrary’s vision is based on the lack of healthy options in urban neighborhoods, and to keep South LA residents from leaving the area when looking for healthy dishes. “In the inner cities there’s always fast food and unhealthy options, and rarely are they healthy,” says McCrary. “People think (healthy food) will taste nasty, but I wanted a space for people to see that food was flavorful, fun, different, and could be good for you.”

McCrary sought out new and healthier recipes from different cultures. Swift Cafe is mostly plant based, taking inspiration from Indian, Thai, Caribbean, plus Central and South American cuisines. Expect a sweet potato and cashew cheese ricotta ravioli in sage “butter,” coconut chick pea curry, and a jerk chicken bowl. The desserts are basically smoothies. She’ll make a carrot cake smoothie with raw carrots, one that tastes like a berry cobbler, and a key lime pie smoothie with avocado and spirulina.

The light and airy space holds up to 35 people, and is lined with photos from the surrounding neighborhood. Hours will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

Swift Cafe. 4279 Crenshaw Boulevard, Leimert Park, CA

Customers at Swift Cafe in Leimert Park
Swift Cafe
Sheldon Botler