Leimert Park, Los Angeles–When Kyndra McCrary was studying psychology in college, her immediate goals did not include opening a restaurant.
The success she received from her personal catering company, however, led her on a different path. Chef Kyndra opened the doors to Swift Cafe in October 2019, with the goal of providing healthy food options to Leimert Park Residents.
Chef Kyndra is aware that the area of Leimert Park is considered a food desert, which means healthy food options are limited. She specifically chose the space of Leimert Park, to provide residents with options that contribute to their wellness.
“Flavor is important to me. Some places, they have healthy food but it’s nasty and nobody wants it. So I wanted to put a space right here in the community, where people could have healthier options and have wellness for themselves and it still tastes good you know, it still taste like home, like something your grandmother would make.”
The menu at Swift Cafe located on Crenshaw (across the street from Taco Mell) includes coconut curry chickpea with garlic naan, salmon gremolata, shrimp bowls, as well as key lime smoothies.
Chef Kyndra says she is influenced by the Caribean dishes she grew up watching her Panamanian grandmother make.
After Ooh La La catering began to flourish around 2011, Chef Kyndra was presented with the opportunity to open a location in Inglewood. After investing thousands of dollars and countless hours on making the location a reality, she was forced to walk away from the investment.
Prior to Swift Cafe, Chef Kyndra was constantly faced with the task of finding spaces to provide food samples to her customers. Once the space on Crenshaw became available, she knew it was the perfect opportunity.
Swift Cafe opened its doors not too long ago but the experience so far has been rewarding for Chef Kyndra.
“You know Black people, you better come correct with this whole entire recipe and this whole menu and so getting that validation from my people that are coming in and saying that they like the food has been extremely encouraging to me. And it just kinds of put that stamp on it.”
Swift Cafe also provides wifi, as well as free refills on coffee.
“It’s not super big but it’s cozy and it’s comfortable.”
Another notable aspect of Swift Cafe is their smoothies created and inspired by different deserts, for those who have a sweet tooth but still want something healthy.
Catering began as a means for Chef Kyndra to fund her dreams of opening a non-profit in the inner city. Certain childhood experiences influenced Kyndra’s desire to receive a degree in counseling.
“My goal was to start a non-profit in the inner city, which would be a counseling center slash a place for job development and empowerment. So I started a catering company to fund that.”
Her business began to take off in ways she was not expecting. She became so entrenched in the business, that her dreams of opening a non-profit were put on the back-burner.
Chef Kyndra still makes it a priority to attend continuation high schools for career day and group homes to teach cooking classes. She is still working in the non-profit space but her goal is still to get her own non-profit up and running.
One of the most challenging aspects of owning a business for Chef Kyndra has been funding Swift Cafe herself and operating without a business partner.
She still makes sure that everything she does in business is intentional, down to the food on the menu, and the art curated on the walls.
“I want the people that live in the area to be proud. I made it really nice but I want people to come in here and be like man this is mine too, you know? I want everyone to have a better sense of the ownership and just knowing that a Black female came through and created something for everyone that’s here.”
Visit Swift Cafe located at 4279 Crenshaw Blvd
Follow Swift Cafe on Instagram