On the edge of Hollywood in a nondescript building sits a humble Jamaican restaurant. Its modest décor and blowing fans are reminiscent of simpler times in the Caribbean mountain village where its owners grew up sharing meals and traditions with family.
Akono says what makes the food at this vegan restaurant so unique is their reliance on natural, healing ingredients.
“We call it food, but it’s medicine,” Akono says.
Treelion specializes in authentic Jamaican food such as dumplings, fried plantains, Callaloo, baked tofu, veggie chicken, veggie fish, veggie peppered steak, and even veggie prawns made from arrowroot. They offer a daily soup special such as Ital stew with peas and
Treelion shuns white flour and white rice, opting instead for brown or red rice, quinoa,
“I love compliments,” Akono says, laughing. “I love when someone says it’s the best porridge I’ve ever made. I like to feed people. It’s just a part of me. I think I probably got that from my grandmother.”
“There was always
Akono moved from Above Rocks in Saint Catharine Parish, Jamaica, to New York in 1980, where he completed high school and then joined the Air Force to quench his burning desire to travel.
“When I was young, I read Gulliver’s Travels. Gulliver went to
After serving in the Philippines, Japan, Guam, and Korea, Akono was honorably discharged from the military and eventually moved to Miami where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Florida International University.
Now 62, with seven children and four grandchildren, Akono devotes his time to making healing herbs and foods.
“I think being vegan is a healthier form of living,” he says. “I think when you eat plant-based food, it changes your DNA and you become a different person.”
“Vegetarian and vegan people, they are a different set of people when you deal with them,” Akono says. “They are calm, they are pleasant, they are kind, 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 like being a vegan person.”
Akono says his restaurant draws in all different types of customers, including Jamaican, American, Indian, and Chinese.
“My mother was born in Cuba,” he explains of his lineage and his feeling of connection to the world around him. “My grandmother was born in Haiti. I am a part of the whole
Treelion Juice Bar & Natural Foods is located at 5705 Hallandale Beach Blvd., Hollywood; hours are Monday through 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.
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