Black barbers are connected to the community like few others. From corporate professionals to returning citizens, everyone in the Black community has to come to the barbershop. That connection helps barbers know what we need as a community and connect us to it. Three barbers in New Orleans recently decided to start connecting their community in an entirely different way by opening a new vegan restaurant — Vegan Wit a Twist. The restaurant’s offering are 100% plant based but also, 1000% New Orleans.
Roy Joseph, Ryan Billew and Ollie Williams are the founders of Vegan Wit a Twist. The three are barbers and now restaurant owners. The idea started with Joseph routinely bringing vegan food to the shop that he’d cooked. People quickly began to notice how delicious his creations were. At the encouragement of Billew and Williams, Joseph decided to pursue the venture. Since opening in November the trio has seen nothing but success. Authentic New Orleans flavor on plants — healthy and delicious.
Not only does their restaurant encourage patrons to eat and live healthier, it is also a clear encouragement for others to pursue entrepreneurship. As the owners said in a recent interview, “We want everyone to see that you can get together, you can have your own business. You can become an entrepreneur.” They also want us to know that “You can create stuff for yourself and others.” Creating for others and self is important, especially for Black communities. Black people have the genius and means to do for self, we simply need to learn from the example of these three brothers — pull together and make it a reality.