These 3 Black Barbers Are Behind New Orleans’ Hottest Vegan Spot
By DeAnna Taylor
A little over a year ago, Roy Joseph III made the decision to get serious about his health. After seeing recall after recall of different food products, especially meat, he wanted to make a change.
The Louisiana native started by eliminating beef and pork from his diet. Although it was hard, he later let go of chicken. He began testing different meal ideas in his own kitchen, to see if he could make the process easier.
“Every other month there is a recall on meat,” Joseph told Travel Noire. I was tired of seeing the same warnings in the media. I decided to stop eating beef, pork, and later chicken.”
From there, he would bring the dishes into the barbershop where he works, to let his fellow barbers and some customers try it. No one could believe that what he was making was vegan and actually good for them.
Joseph’s co-workers, Ryan Billew and Ollie Williams, convinced him to take things to the next level. They persuaded him to start selling the dishes to the public.
After testing things out at different festivals, the 3 men came together and opened Vegan Wit a Twist.
“We want our people to wake up. The Black community is plagued by disease. It’s the food that is giving us these issues. It’s not always genetics. While our food is beautiful, it’s hurting us. It’s time to cut some of that stuff out,” Joseph said.
What sets Vegan Wit a Twist apart from every other vegan spot is that they make sure their dishes are packed with flavor and the seasonings that people love in and around New Orleans.
“We’re from New Orleans, which is known for its cuisine,” Ryan Billew said. “When people hear vegan, they automatically think bland. We’re throwing away the bland idea and adding in New Orleans flavor.”
The men consider themselves stage one vegans. Meaning, they are still learning and transitioning as well. They hope that their food will inspire more people to take the steps into a healthier lifestyle by seeing that it can still taste good.
“We go by what we like,” Joseph said. If we don’t like it, we won’t keep it on the menu. We aim to make stuff that you’ll want to eat almost everyday.”
Some of the most popular dishes include: the hot “sausage” sandwich, the “V-Spot burger, and the cauliflower tacos. The men make a variety of signature sauces that really take their dishes to the next level.
In addition to the food, they offer vegan and gluten-free cookies and fresh-squeezed lemonades and teas.
Vegan Wit A Twist is located at 3225 St. Bernard Avenue in New Orleans. They are currently open Monday thru Wednesday between 11 am and 5 pm. It is a window-style establishment with limited seating outside. There are plans to expand the hours, as well as the space in the near future.
Catch more of Vegan Wit A Twist on Instagram.
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel writer. The Charlotte native recently completed one year abroad working as an English teacher in South Korea. Her hobbies include fitness, traveling to new countries, and trying new foods.