Business & Finance | October 21st, 2020
Soul Veg Leaves Massive Influence Behind
By: A-Chai’a Jackson
What debuted as a food truck service in the 90s blossomed into a twenty-three year legacy of promoting longevity and wellness to the Tallahassee community through veganism. Soul Veg Juice Bar and Cafe located in the greater Tallahassee area takes pride in serving natural food dishes made from 100% scratch.
This one-stop-shop has everything from a juice bar and fresh vegetable smoothies to hand-made pizza and Sunday brunch. Customers who support the business look forward to eating signature dishes such as beans and rice, vegan mac and cheese and vegan desserts. It even included a gluten-based menu with yummy selections.
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end as customers are left stunned by the closing of Soul Veg Juice Bar and Cafe due to COVID-19. The staple vegan restaurant released a statement on their website this past summer that stated: “The Soul Veg Tallahassee location has permanently closed due to the COVID-19 virus! We thank each & every one of our beloved friends/customers for 23 years of awesome support!”
Candace Brown, a former employee at Soul Veg, reflects on the good times working there.
“Honestly, working at Soul Veg was the best experience to have. They really push me to follow my dreams as far as owning my own restaurant and not only was my boss, Miykhael Ben Israel, extremely supportive but the customers are supportive and beautiful people from all walks of life,” Brown said.
Brown believes the abrupt halt COVID-19 placed on college students ultimately led to the restaurant’s closure.
“Despite COVID-19, although the location is great for locals, it is not always in our favor for the consistent flow of business. College students are who we rely on as our main market,” Brown said. “So, students leaving due to the pandemic is rather unfortunate for any business and not maintaining the supportive market from customers makes things harder to manage.”
Although the Tallahassee location is no longer with us, customers reminisce on how the local spot created a more inclusive space for their veganism journey.
Teah Mathis, a pre-nursing student at Florida A&M University, is not a stranger to Soul Veg and is also influenced by its impact on influencers like herself. As a satisfied customer, she appreciated the generous hospitality that was shown and the delicious impression their signature vegan desserts leave on her appetite.
“Soul Veg was the first vegan restaurant I ever tried in my life. They were so kind to me and they have the best vegan chocolate cake,” Mathis said.
While some may treat veganism as a one day trial, others who have compassion for a healthy lifestyle consider it to be an acquired taste to maintain a longer life and to be intentional about what food they consume. Mathis believes her pursuit of choosing to be vegan is her promise to honor and not to eat God’s creatures.
“To be a vegan is a lifestyle. It is not to consume any animal products (flesh or eggs), buy anything made from animals, like leather, and to support anti-animal consumerism,” Mathis said.
Noradine Thompson, a psychology student at FAMU, says that she knows good food when her senses touch and agree and to her Soul Veg is absolutely that.
“[Soul Veg] made great food. I’m a sucker for good yams, and I appreciate when they are made just right,” Thompson said. “Those same soul food recipes that marinate our hearts can be crafted with natural-based ingredients to create a finger-licking taste and [Soul Veg] is a crowd-pleaser for that.”
Soul Veg will forever be remembered for embarking the Tallahassee community on a greater journey to wellness and its influential legacy left behind is one that cannot go unnoticed by many pursuing inclusive spaces of their healthy lifestyle.