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Eat Your Greens: (this page, clockwise from far-left) Chef Latrice Folkes’s signature Tree of Lifeit Sandwich, with avocado, sprouts, and seeds; Basic Green Smoothie with kale, bananas, mangoes, and almond milk; BLT with eggplant bacon; Chef Folkes; (opposite) Live Pizza, with marinated vegetables and marinara sauce on gluten-free onion bread

In the Raw

Lifeit Café is a delicious shot in the arm / by Jac Chebatoris // photography by Paul Mehaf fey


eep going. Keep going past the Burger King on your right, the Frodo’s Pizza on your left. The “HOT NOW” sign will no doubt be on at Krispy Kreme, but keep going past there too, until you get to that stretch of South Pleasantburg just beyond Greenville Tech, to the Morgan Manor parking lot. It’s a desolate prairie of cracking pavement, but tucked quietly between the Vogue Hair Fashions sign and Joseph Stevens is Greenville’s (if not the Upstate’s) first all-vegan, raw/living foods restaurant, Lifeit Café. You will not find a Whopper your way. Or, any meat. Well, really, you won’t find anything that is heated above 118 degrees. But don’t stop reading. Here’s the thing about the eight-month old café: it’s delicious. (Full disclosure: I know my way around a plate of ribs and a venison meatball or two.) The premise is easy to swallow: eat healthy, vibrant foods, and you’ll feel healthier and more vibrant. Latrice Folkes, owner and chef, has been a vegan for more than 17 years and was also eating raw for some of that time. She wanted to make

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a life transformation for her family and friends who were sick, in the hospital, and even dying. After three years of training in a vegan kitchen at Atlanta’s Soul Vegetarian restaurant, she knew firsthand the positive and what she calls the “regenerative” effects of a holistic lifestyle. “I wanted a place that was focused on getting energy, getting vibrant, getting sexy—so that’s basically what the ‘life it’ means,” Folkes says, referring to the name of her café. So instead of a diet, it’s a life-it, or as she describes, “a holistic lifestyle centered around life-giving principles and activities, including eating fresh, living foods.” Take the Tree of Lifeit Sandwich, presently her signature sandwich (Folkes says the menu, especially for dinner, will be expanding soon). It has avocado, vegan mozzarella, pumpkin seeds, sprouts, and Vidalia onion on an organic wrap or bread. It’s got texture, and the buttery avo gives it depth. Yes, you’ll probably still get a laugh from someone at what they’ll call your “rabbit food.” But eating this way—if Folkes is any testament with her clear skin and wellspring of enthusiasm for her community (there are poetry open mics every month, food planning classes, and local art on display)—it’s more like Energizer Bunny fuel. Lifeit Café 730 S Pleasantburg Dr, Greenville (864) 271-4334,

TOWN Jan. 2014  

TOWN Magazine published monthly in Greenville, South Carolina by Community Journals.

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