Atiya Ola's Spirit First Foods

Hidden out on the 4500 block of Baltimore Ave. is a warm cafe nicely outfitted in African decor. The cafe opened up back in September of 2008 and prior to that, owner Atiya Ola says it was a typical cafe that served coffee, steaks, and eggs. When asked what inspired her to open a cafe serving healthy food she said, "it was divine timing and just seemed right." The woman who ran the store before her asked if she wanted to take over and left everything in the store for her to use. The only thing Atiya had to supply was a food stand. "Even the plants were donated by the local Drexel girls," she says. Talk about a sweet deal!

When asked what sparked her interest in raw food she said, "people have always loved my food, it has always been with me. Raw food nutrition rang a logic bell in my head." Their goal is to provide nutritious and delicious raw food while educating the local community about eating less processed foods. "Keeping it simple and good is the way we like it," she says.

On the menu you can start with a tasty drink like fresh plantain milk, strawberry moss, or an energizing green juice. Their entrees consist of slaws, salads, sprouted beans, and mixed veggies. For dessert they offer raw vegan apple and sweet potato pie and chocolate souffle. It's light on the wallet as you can grab a meal and a drink for ten dollars. Spirit first foods also caters to vegetarians and vegans with additional items on the menu that are cooked.

The store is still in the early stages of expanding and will be holding educational and preparation classes in the future. Be sure to bring cash as that's all they except at this time. Atiya says, "Come on down! I want you to feel comfortable like you're in your own kitchen."

For more info: Atiya Ola's Spirit First Foods 4505 Baltimore Ave. Philadelphia, PA 215-939-3298 Closed Mondays. Tuesday-Saturday 8am-8pm and Sunday 8am-4pm. Website coming soon.

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