Vegan Dining That’s Out of This World

Meeluvh Iman became a vegan six years ago and her mother, Ruqayya Jaaber-Douglas, made the switch last year.

Now they are teaming up to offer the healthful food to other vegans and convert a few carnivores as well.

Iman and Jaaber-Douglas opened Cosmic Kitchen, a vegan restaurant, in January. The small restaurant at 2838 Mahoning Ave. offers freshly-made wraps, soups, salads, sea moss smoothies, sandwiches and entrees made from vegetable, grain, rice and other animal-free ingredients, all prepared with natural flavorings.

In creating their dishes, Iman and Jaaber-Douglas want to appeal to meat-eaters who are curious enough about vegan food to give it a try. They strive to give their food the look, flavor and textures of traditional comfort foods. Grains, wild rice, quinoa and vegetables form the meat substitutes.

The restaurant also uses only pink Himalayan sea salt and sweeteners such as agave, Iman says. Refined sugar is never used.

Jaaber-Douglas is the head chef and kitchen manager. A seasoned cook with decades of restaurant experience, her goal is to create food that is hearty and satisfying.

The Brooklyn, N.Y., native says she has “veganized” chicken, ribs and roasts, and is experimenting with vegan crab legs.

“I can make a vegan chili just as good as a regular one,” she says. “People can’t tell the difference.”

The launching of Cosmic Kitchen began with Iman, who got into holistic health in 2015, making natural oils and remedies. Eating is a big part of holistic wellness. So she adopted a vegan diet.

The Boardman High School graduate opened her first business, Secret Garden, in 2018, making all-natural remedies, candles, soaps and lotions. The items can be purchased at her Jewels and More store, just down the street from Cosmic Kitchen at 2618 Mahoning Ave.

She was inspired to open Cosmic Kitchen because there are few vegan restaurants in the area and she wanted to bring the option to the inner city.

Iman’s mother, Jaaber-Douglas, says her motivation for going vegan was to improve her health – and it has worked dramatically.

Making the switch to vegan was “a fight,” she says. “I enjoy all the good foods. Once I entered the lifestyle…my blood pressure dropped from 225 to 120 and I lost 40 pounds. I am truly a living witness that it is a good lifestyle if you want to better your health.”

Pictured: Meeluvh Iman and her mother, Ruqayya Jaaber-Douglas, own Cosmic Kitchen.