When husband and wife Robyn and Zachary Wallace launched their food business in Atlanta in 2018, the goal of Local Green restaurant was to bring healthy food to the Black community. Now, the Wallaces are bringing their tasty, healthy cuisine to Walt Disney World visitors. The couple’s Local Green Orlando food truck recently became the first Black-owned food truck at Walt Disney World.
Robyn and Zak launched Local Green Atlanta as a tribute to several relatives who died from cancer to encourage healthy eating in the community. Zachary, known in Atlanta music circles as “Big Zak,” is an established songwriter. He’s the voice of DJ Greg Street’s longtime radio intro for his 6 p.m. show on Atlanta radio station V-103. Big Zak has worked with such artists as Young Jeezy, Ciara, Keri Hilson, and others.
“I lost my brother, and my wife lost her mother to cancer,” Zachary told Travel Noire. “When you’re sick with illnesses such as cancer or high blood pressure, doctors will tell you not to eat fried foods, eat lean meat and vegetables, and no pork or beef. If you can’t eat this while you’re sick, these things shouldn’t be eaten if you’re feeling good.”
He added, “We wanted to bring something to our community without sacrificing the taste. We know our culture tends to like soul food, barbecue, fried food … but it’s affecting our health. Of the illnesses plaguing our community, the top three killers are hypertension, cancer, and diabetes.”
Then Disney called to invite them to open a food truck on site. They inked a deal to open a food truck in a place at Walt Disney World’s Disney Springs park.
The menu is similar to what is served at the restaurant. A majority of the offerings are plant-based.
“The Local Green concept was born out of community and the pledge to increase awareness of the benefits of delicious and fulfilling plant-based foods. Initially, the company started as a food truck and scaled to a brick-and-mortar restaurant based in Atlanta’s historic Westside community,” Robyn told Orlando Business Journal.
Zachary, who was born and raised in Southwest Atlanta, “grew up in a food desert, with limited access to food rich in nutrition and healthy ingredients. He saw how the lack of access impacted his community’s overall health, wellness, lifestyle, and perpetuity, whose demographic makeup was mostly Black and Brown,” said Robyn.
One out of every five Black households is situated in a food desert, with few grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers markets, found a 2021 study by management consulting firm McKinsey & Company.
“When eating here, we hope people realize that you can control your life by what you eat and remove the negative things,” Zachary adds. “Put yourself first on your to-do list and think about the people most impacted by your daily dietary choices.”
For the couple, their restaurant ventures aren’t just about business, they’re about community, said Zachary.
“If we don’t expose people to [healthy food options] and see its representation in our neighborhoods and our communities, we will never get it,” Zachary told Atlanta station 11 Alive.
“I spent my whole life out of what I considered the ’hood. … The love needs to be back into the community that raised you,” he said.
The restaurant’s menu gives the nod to Zachary’s music ties. You can order the Oh Boy Beyond Burger, the Bubba Sparxx Pulled BBQ sandwich, and the Rappers Delight Salmon Philly, among other offerings.