Step into the world of Nefetari

By Corenda Bell

There may not be many Tallahassee South Side residents who are aware of the healthy, vegan and vegetarian restaurants in their area. In fact, near Florida A&M’s campus is a fine dining restaurant that offers vegan and vegetarian dishes along with artful décor, live music and much more.

Nefetari’s is located on South Macomb Street, less than 100 yards south of Gaines Street. It is a unique restaurant with a wide range of delicious choices of farm to table offerings.

“We do raw vegan, vegan cooked and then we do vegetarian,” said Nefetari’s co-owner, Dana Dennard. “We start with really completely raw deal or all vegetables, no meat.”

The vegan and vegetarian dishes are among the most popular at Nefetari’s. Even though a majority of the restaurant’s customers are older, people of diverse backgrounds and ages visit and enjoy Nefetari’s unique, healthy dishes.

“We have families that come here a lot of times. College students will be vegan and their parents won’t be,” Dennard continued. “And so, they come here and everybody is happy because the parents who are stomp meat eaters can order lamb, and the child can eat straight vegan. We serve that every day.”

Nefetari’s presents a royal ancient African culture with sacred displays, featuring royal colors such as gold, silver and purple. The restaurant is named after an ancient queen. Dennard mentions that the restaurant is named after two queens with the same name of Nefetari.

“We mainly focus on the second queen,” Dennard explained. “Nefetari one and two, Nefetari two is the royal wife or main wife. Rameses the Great who was considered the greatest builder in the world history.”

Along with Nefetari’s, there are other restaurants in Tallahassee that offer vegan or vegetarian entrees. For example, Blaze Pizza offers vegetarian pizza, Essence of India features vegetarian and vegan options and Soul Veg, located just north of FAMU Way, offers all vegan soul food dishes.

Nefetari’s and Soul Veg are the two restaurants with healthy food options closest to the Tallahassee’s South Side.

The Florida Health Charts confirms that black populations in Leon County have a higher percent of overweight adults than white populations. One reason is that the South Side has fewer restaurants or grocery stores that offer affordable healthy or organic foods.

Also, according to Florida Health Charts, the USDA food desert locator identifies southern and western areas of Tallahassee as food deserts because there is a greater challenge for residents in these areas to have access to healthier foods.

For residents of the South Side who look for healthy restaurants that cater to vegans and vegetarians, Nefetari’s is a great start.

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