Treelion Juice Bar & Natural Foods Review: Serving Jamaican Vegan Food in Hollywood


On the edge of Hollywood, in a nondescript building, is a humble Jamaican restaurant. Its modest decor and blower fans are reminiscent of the simpler times of the Caribbean mountain village where its owners grew up sharing meals and traditions with family.

The cousins Akono, whose first name is Howard Taylor, and Jah-V, whose first name is Vernon Creary, have opened Tree lion Juice Bar & Natural Foods five years ago.

“I like the compliments. I like to feed people. It’s just a part of me. “

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Akono says what makes the food at this vegan restaurant so unique is its reliance on natural and healing ingredients.

“We call it food, but it’s medicine,” Akono says.

Indeed, Akono owns a small farm in Myakka, Florida, where he grows herbs and medicinal plants, which he also sells in the back of the restaurant. He says a lot of people come to him looking for natural remedies for diseases like diabetes and cancer.

Treelion specializes in authentic Jamaican dishes such as dumplings, fried plantains, callaloo, baked tofu, vegetarian chicken, vegetarian fish, vegetarian pepper steak and even vegetarian arrowroot shrimp. . They offer a special soup of the day like the Ital stew with peas and Beans, and they use traditional Jamaican seasonings like cayenne pepper, onions, green onions, and yellow ginger.

Treelion avoids white flour and white rice, opting instead for brown or red rice, quinoa, bulge, or a host of other grains. Breakfast porridge is an ever-changing combination of ingredients such as oats, Irish moss, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, cornmeal, and plantains.

“I love compliments,” Akono laughs. “I love when someone says this is the best porridge I have ever made. I like to feed people. It’s just a part of me. I think I probably got this from my grandma.

Akono grew up in a great jamaican family and says her grandmother was proud to feed her 15 children, as well as her cousins, aunts, uncles and other extended family, everyday.

“There was always Leftovers, so if children from the neighborhood, a stranger or anyone came, they could have food, ”Akono says.

Akono moved from Above Rocks in the parish of St. Catharine, Jamaica, to New York in 1980, where he graduated from high school and then joined the Air Force to satisfy his longing for travel.

“When I was young, I read Gulliver’s travels. Gulliver went to a world where there were giants. This book influenced me a lot. Also, Pinocchio and Robinson Crusoe – these three books had a great influence on me.

After serving in the Philippines, Japan, Guam, and Korea, Akono was honorably discharged from the military and eventually moved to Miami where he received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Florida International University.

Now 62 years old, with seven children and four grandchildren, Akono devotes his time to making herbs and food.

“I think being vegan is a healthier form of life,” he says. “I think when you eat plant-based foods it changes your DNA and you become a different person.”

Akono The laid back personality is probably part of his restaurant’s success, and he says he’s had customers who couldn’t pay and trusted them to come back later – and they always have.

“Vegetarians and vegans are different people when you treat them,” Akono says. “They are calm, they are pleasant, they are nice, they are helpful. I think it’s the food they eat. They don’t get angry. They don’t want to take; they want to give, and that’s why I love being a vegan person.

Akono says his restaurant attracts all types of customers, including Jamaicans, Americans, Indians, and Chinese.

“My mother was born in Cuba,” he explains of his lineage and his sense of connection to the world around him. “My grandmother was born in Haiti. I am part of the whole Caribbean. ”

Treelion Juice Bar & Natural Foods is located at 5705 Hallandale Beach Blvd., Hollywood; the hours are Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. 954-589-1579; Facebook; catering available.

Wendy Rhodes is an award-winning freelance writer and author. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @WendyRhodesFL.

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