HOUSTON, TX – The delectable, flavorful dishes that are a staple of traditional soul food have been accepted as a thing of the past by most transitioning to a vegan lifestyle.
For many Houstonians who helped celebrate The Breakfast Klub’s 20th anniversary in the city, the prospect of a vegan alternative to Southern breakfast and brunch staples such as chicken and waffles or shrimp and grits is novel.
However, one local couple is reimagining vegan food perceptions one dish at a time with their music-themed coffee shop, Mo’ Better Brews, which doubles as a vinyl record store— “Wrecka Stow” on the corner of San Jacinto St and Southmore Blvd.
Chasitie and Courtney Lindsay opened their trendy new café on Juneteenth in 2021, fusing their passion for music and vegan breakfast fare with their signature vegan Chik’n Fried Shrooms & Grits and Johnny Nash Sweet Potato Hash, much to the delight of the community’s food enthusiasts.
“It’s a vibe! You know, we’ve been needing this here in Houston for a long time,” customer Davon Allen said. “You can go travel all over the place, but this place has that feeling, that look we’ve been looking for, that vibe we’ve been looking for, the food we’ve been looking for. Everything you’re looking for here is at Mo’ Better Brews— Community, food, family, it’s all here.”
The Lindsays, who met while studying at Texas Southern University, named their restaurant after Spike Lee’s 90′s musical comedy-drama film “Mo Better Blues,” with menu items paying homage to the film and their passion for all things musical.
“We both are big fans of the Spike Lee movie Mo Better Blues. So, it just fits our vibe. It fits the richness of the characters, things like that,” said Chasitie. “So, we wanted to kind of not model it too much after that, but just put our own spin on it.”
Along with a wall of soulful vintage vinyl records for sale, patrons can sample the locally roasted brew from Three Keys Coffee. Espresso at the chic eatery is made with an aromatic, bold Ethiopian and Columbian coffee blend, while regular drip is made with a Honduran blend. Hailed as a one-of-a-kind vegan brew, the Bleek & Indigo pays homage to the film’s protagonists and their admiration for the director.
In keeping with the music motif, menu items such as the “Motown Monte,” “The Smokey Rob,” and the “Johnny Nash” make a tribute to an extended range of entertainers.
“The motivation behind some of the names like the Johnny Nash— that was a local Houston artist,” Courtney explained. “The Motown Monte just kind of paying homage to Motown and the Coal Train Croissant— you know, John Coltrane.”
With an atmosphere reminiscent of an upscale 90′s coffee shop, it came as no surprise when vegan social media phenomenon Tabitha Brown made a visit to check out the excitement and leave glowing reviews.
Posting a video on her Instagram page, Brown gasped in joy upon taking a mouthful of the Dilla Donut Sandwich, marveling at the donut-burger meal attempting to make sense of the explosion of flavors of the 100 percent vegan cuisine.
Urging people to attend the café and sample the sweet and savory meal, the Lindsays were unprepared for what occurred following her surprise visit.
“We weren’t ready for the ‘Tabitha Brown Effect,” joked Chasitie. “Because that next day the place was swarming, and it was like that for a good month of people like, ‘Tabitha Brown sent me—you know it better be good and better be on point.”
Hailing her the “Oprah for Vegan Food,” the Lindsays were exceedingly thrilled and grateful for the surprise visit crediting her for the surge in sales that necessitated numerous shop excursions to replace supplies and maintain demand for at least a month.
The coffee shop is gradually establishing itself as a community hub for many residents.
“It’s a staple—it’s a weekly thing now,” said one customer as she waited for an order.
The menu features a variety of delicious, one-of-a-kind foods and robust, fragrant coffee blends for first-time guests. However, nothing beats an owner’s endorsement and rave fan reviews.
“I most definitely think you should try the chicken fried shrimp and grits,” said Courtney. “We got it three ways, so I think anyway it will satisfy a person’s cravings.”
The business continues to thrive rapidly as customers from all over Houston flock to the trendy new vegan cafe. According to their website, Mo’ Better Brews has implemented a two-hour dining limit on weekends due to high traffic.
The three-in-one vegan coffeehouse is located at 1201 Southmore Blvd. in Houston, Texas 77004 and is open Tuesday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. For additional information about their hours, see their Instagram page or website.
KPRC 2 is partnering with Texas Southern University throughout the month of February for a celebration of Houston Black history. Students from TSU’s School of Communication and members of @KTSU_2 “The Voice” online team are providing content for the @kprc2 Instagram account and the station’s other digital platforms. Posts and articles have been researched and produced exclusively by TSU students under the supervision of their School of Communication professors and the KPRC 2 digital team. The student journalists’ content will be published throughout February 2022 on click2houston.com/blackhistory.
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Christina Abay is a multimedia journalist who loves telling stories that have a lasting impact on communities
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