LaRayia’s Bodega, the organic, vegan bodega, will open its first location outside LA in Atlanta on the first floor of Ponce City Market’s Central Food Hall this fall. From Founder LaRayia Gaston, the grab-n-go takeaway counter will feature bright and colorful vegan fare showcasing powerhouse ingredients like organic fruits and vegetables, teas, juices and more.
In 2018, Gaston directed the documentary 43 Days on Skid Row where she spent 43 days living on LA’s Skid Row. Following her experience, she founded non-profit Love Without Reason in 2015, which runs Lunch On Me – an initiative dedicated to ending starvation while providing opportunities to enrich the mind, body and spirit of homeless communities in LA and now, Atlanta. Lunch on Me serves 10,000 organic meals six days a week to people on Skid Row; In Atlanta, the non-profit will hand out free vegan food at Woodruff Park every Friday.
Continuing her philanthropic passions, Gaston opened the first LaRayia’s Bodega in LA’s Westlake neighborhood in August 2019 to provide nutritious, inexpensive meals and snacks to anyone who needs them; every item costs less than $5 at the LA location thanks to donations from companies like Healthade and Sakara Life.
Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with Caribbean and Puerto Rican influences, the LaRayia’s Bodega in Atlanta will be a destination where on-the-go guests can grab a healthy and delicious meal anytime of day. The fruit- and vegetable-forward menu will feature vegan breakfast items like overnight oats and parfaits, bites like Jamaican Jerk Jackfruit Tacos with mango salsa and Vegan Ceviche, along with hearty vegan comfort foods like chili, cornbread and collard greens. Specials will change throughout the year with items such as soups and salads of the day featuring seasonal produce.
To drink, guests can choose from assorted juices, lemonades and teas like Black Girl Magic Lemonade with activated charcoal and Moon Tea, LaRayia’s spin on a vegan chai tea. Beverages will come in a branded bottle specific to the bodega’s Atlanta location.
“We want to make it easy to eat vegan and feel good,” says Gaston. “Our aim is to take familiar recipes and pump them up a notch with ingredients made from the freshest produce. We can’t wait to bring some of what we love from our Los Angeles bodega to Atlanta and support the local homeless community through Lunch on Me.”
Influenced by LaRayia’s Caribbean upbringing and the Atlanta community, the space will be playful and bright with rich colors and design elements like leopard print grocery bags, neon signs and original paintings from LaRayia. Some menu items will even contain edible glitter. In addition to food, guests will be able to purchase branded merchandise such as hoodies, tees, bucket hats and more.
About Ponce City Market
Developed by real estate investment and management company Jamestown, Ponce City Market is a historic, mixed-use community hub featuring local and world-class food and retail, residential lofts and office space. With ample public green space and a pedestrian network directly linked to the Atlanta BeltLine corridor, Ponce City Market is a landmark in Atlanta’s skyline and an iconic destination for visitors and neighbors alike. The revitalized building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and combines 259 residential flats, which are also available as short-term rentals (minimum three days); 643,000 square feet of Class-A office space; 300,000 square feet of retail; and centers for learning. At its core is a buzzing indoor/outdoor Central Food Hall featuring restaurants and food stalls from James Beard Award-winning and -nominated chefs. The community hub’s diverse retail offering includes a mix of national brands like Anthropologie, Frye, West Elm, Williams Sonoma and J. Crew as well as local Atlanta-based shops like Modern Mystic Shop, Cobbler Union, Citizen Supply and more. Ponce City Market allocates 20 percent of its residential units as affordable housing, and for visitors arriving on two wheels, there are 500 bike parking spaces and a complimentary bike valet. A portion of the parking fee at Ponce City Market is donated to the Atlanta BeltLine. For more information, please visit www.poncecitymarket.com.