After over two decades in the natural food industry, Yah-I Ausar Tafari Amen and his wife, Ma’at em Maakheru Amen, opened a completely allergen-free location for their brand, Vegan Flava Cafe.
From traveling the East Coast as caterers to opening a food truck in 2014, Amen and his wife have dedicated their careers to providing a new take on high quality and intentional food service. Now located in Blue Dogwood Public Market, a cooperative food hall focusing on local business, Vegan Flava Cafe begun expanding their dishes and establishing a home base.
“Spending so much time in the natural food industry and having a joy of serving by way of cooking made for a marriage of what is now Vegan Flava Cafe,” Amen said.
Vegan Flava Cafe has a revolving menu, and every item they serve can be modified to suit personal food allergies. Yah-I Amen said his primary goal in opening the cafe was to ensure everybody could eat there despite any allergies, something he said nobody else is doing in the area.
Jeff Boak, the owner of Blue Dogwood Public Market, said Vegan Flava Cafe serves the need of a specific and underrepresented customer.
“Flava is a cornerstone of variety — they have a wide range of meals, and everything is made from scratch on site,” Boak said.
Boak also said it is important to have places like Vegan Flava Cafe in public markets because it allows groups of people to have a range of options for buying food, while still being able to dine together. He said this allows people with dieting restrictions to share meals with their loved ones in a way that may not have been possible in the past.
Amen said a guiding principle of his life has been that food has the power to heal and change people for the better. This led him to create his program “Being Better By Eating Better.”