Why did you decide on Downtown as the location for Manna? I really fell in love with the DuPont Building; it’s historical and has meaning. Like manna, a word that comes from the Bible and means “food from heaven,” I wanted the space to have history. The food we provide is life-giving, and what better place than Downtown, where it’s really needed.
What’s the biggest challenge you face running a plant-based café? There is a lot of misunderstanding around nutrition, but I want to demystify plant-based food: It’s simply high-quality food for your body. I run a weekly nutritional lecture on Thursdays from 6 to 7pm called “Sabra Shares,” and it’s free for the community. The idea is to make people feel comfortable, so it’s not necessarily for the vegan fanatic.
Do you have a favorite place in Downtown? I like going to the Langford. It’s a cool property with a nice patio and a little bar that’s great to go to and relax. I love that it’s a historical space that was kept in its entirety and then reinvented. Whole Foods (299 SE Third Ave; wholefoodsmarket.com) is two blocks away, which is great in case we run out of anything.
How has Manna contributed to the neighborhood? People in Downtown come here to find their healthy food haven. It’s offered another avenue for people to take care of themselves. The people who drink alcohol Thursday through Sunday come here on Monday morning for a green detox juice. At least they know they have us.