By Dylan Deprey
As neighbors pulled into Ms. Diane’s BP at the corner of N. 8th St. and W. Atkinson Ave., wafts of barbeque were met with hints of gasoline in the cool Spring air.
A line forming through the convenience store stretched to the door. Everybody from mechanics getting off of work to mothers treating their hungry kids for good report cards stepped in line to order anything vegan and everything delicious.
On a Wednesday dinner rush, some of the fan favorites included the Mak-a-belly turkey burger and the vegan egg rolls. Both were sold out by 4:30p.m.
Mike McGee Jr. worked behind the stove, the counter and the wheel. He was the owner, operator and delivery driver for BP Fresh Foods.
Maya Monique, co-owner, pushed out orders as quick as she could, while hopping on the register and working double-duty as McGee Jr. ran out the door for a delivery.
Having been open for nearly a month, McGee Jr. and Monique have been able to recreate the same fresh food following at BP Fresh as their flagship store, Country Fresh Kitchen on N. 52nd and W. Center St.
McGee Jr.’s Facebook page is the restaurant’s work of art, as pictures of neighbors, community advocates and elected officials smiled holding their meals.
Some neighbors who would have never tried a black bean burger or a falafel, now had the chance to venture outside the normal fast food available in the neighborhood.
After watching all of the mothers and aunts in the community die from high blood pressure due to heavy fats and sugars in food, it was a wakeup call for Monique.
“Sometimes people just need to think about health,” Monique said. “Beets, I hate them, but I eat them because I know they’re very good for the blood stream.”
The Atkinson neighborhood is a known food desert, where fresh food and grocery stores are hard to come by. Monique said it was a great feeling to educate the community about healthy food options.
“As an example, the falafel is an Indian dish we serve and it does not consist of meat, but it takes on the taste of meat,” Monique said. “So, we just have to educate the people.”
When people hear healthy food, they might envision gnawing on raw vegetables, but Monique has taken Vegan and healthy options to a new level. From Country Fresh Spicy turkey ribs to Vegan BBQ, her creations have even gone on to get trademarked. The Soulful Rolls are an infusion of Asian-American eggrolls and soul food.
“Everybody loves soul food but everybody is in a bustle, so our turkey and collard green eggrolls have been a success,” Monique said. “They feel like they’re getting Thanksgiving on the go.”
Day after day, first-timers become regulars and Monique and McGee Jr. continue to promote and produce healthy fast food at Milwaukee’s only black owned gas station.
“Man, it feels good collaborating with each other,” Monique said. “Iron sharpens iron and I think this was a great idea for everybody.”
Visit BP Fresh Foods at 807 W. Atkinson Ave. or call 414-242-3412. BP FreshFoods also delivers through GrubHub.