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Inside Keiko’s Kitchen, uptown’s fun and funky new vegan bodega

Lake & Bryant has a colorful new bodega, but it doesn’t stock the Doritos, taquitos, and other junk food on most corner store shelves. This is Minnesota’s first alkaline bodega and herb shop, Keiko’s.

Mykela Jackson, aka Keiko, started eating vegan about five years ago and never looked back. “I really saw it heal my body and make me feel better overall,” she says.In time, she started learning more about herbalism, and she started using teas, oils, and other health benefits. I dabbled in supplements. After about a year of veganism, she transitioned to an alkaline diet.

(For starters, an alkaline diet is a plant-based practice that is the exact opposite of the fad keto diet. It’s all about fruits, vegetables, and grains, rather than emphasizing animal fats and proteins, to maintain your pH.) The emphasis is placed on the balance.)

Jackson shared that journey on an Instagram account she called Keiko’s Kitchen, built a small following of like-minded plant fans, and began figuring out how to turn Keiko’s Kitchen into a full-time gig. “I found myself passionate about creating and sharing these recipes with people,” she says, focusing on bringing healthy vegan options to the black community.

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She worked at the front of house in the food and beverage industry for a while before transitioning to a back of house role, working at Breaking Bread Cafe and eventually head chef at black-owned Trio Plant-Based. became. Vegan restaurant on Lyn-Lake. She connected with her NEON, the Northside Economic Opportunity Network, and under their guidance began hosting plant-based pop-ups throughout northern Minneapolis, eventually selling teas and herbal supplements on her website. started.

And she started posting on TikTok, Keiko’s Kitchen For real It took off and quickly gained around 100,000 followers.

All of this leads to Keiko’s Alkaline Bodega and Tea Shop, which opened at 904 W. Lake St. in Minneapolis about three weeks ago. The space is flashy and colorful. The walls, Jackson and a few artist friends, are spray-painted with fruits and vegetables, hearts and flowers, while bright red-and-yellow shelves are stocked with healthy snacks and ingredients.

The food here is 100% plant-based: spelled, amaranth grains, plant-based milk, chickpea boxes, teas, gummies, cold-pressed juices. On weekdays, you can find chickpea “tuna,” seasoned quinoa salad, collard greens, and more at Keiko’s Deli. And on Soulful Saturdays, stop by for piping hot fried oyster chicken sandwiches, veggies and candied squash. It’s a “pretty simple menu,” and Jackson plans to stick to this menu for a while, and maybe she’ll rotate other hot foods.

As people who found her on TikTok and Instagram have slowly and steadily stopped by the new store, she said of the last three weeks: The new bodega is the latest in her ongoing mission to provide affordable, accessible healthy food to minority her communities.

“The problem in today’s society is that people can’t afford good food or have food readily available in their area,” she says. and bridging the gap between minority communities.”

Keiko’s Kitchen
904 W. Lake Street, Minneapolis
Tue-Sun, 12pm-6pm