(NNPA)—While soul food is a popular staple in African American dishes, the food group, though tasty, has been associated with health issues prevalent in the Black community such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Baruch Ben-Yehudah has made it his work as a Black restaurateur to offer “soul food with a twist,” and has brought the intervention to Takoma Park in Northwest D.C.

Ben-Yehudah’s Evolve Vegan Restaurant opened in 2014 as a bar and restaurant and has been growing in popularity ever since. “The reason why I wanted to open up in this area is because this is where the majority of the vegans are in this whole DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia area),” Ben-Yehudah told the AFRO. “They’re right here in Takoma Park.”

This is not Ben-Yehudah’s first vegan restaurant. He has been in the restaurant industry for 21 years. His brand, Everlasting Life, which was located on Georgia Avenue in northwest D.C. from 1998 to 2008, moved to Central Avenue in Capitol Heights, Md., where he has remained prominent for 17 years.

“We hire people from the community,” he said. “We do everything we can to keep as much of the work, and therefore the revenue, local to this community. In addition to that I think the food is nutritious and so we’re benefitting the community in that we’re providing them healthy nutritious food, but still food that tastes good.”

The location and name are not the only differences in Evolve and Everlasting Life. “The similarities to Everlasting Life is that we offer 100 percent vegan food. The difference at Evolve is we have a full bar,” Ben-Yehudah said. He said the bar was the primary reason for the name change.

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