Disney World’s first Black-owned food truck is bringing healthy food alternatives to the iconic amusement park, showing thrill-seekers that you don’t have to sacrifice great flavor for healthy fare.
In March of 2022, Local Green — a fast-casual restaurant based in Atlanta that provides gourmet, healthy, and affordable food options, made history as the park’s first Black-owned food truck. It’s part of the new Disney Springs dining, shopping and entertainment part of Disney World.
Co-founded by husband and wife duo Zak and Robyn Wallace of West Atlanta, Local Green offers vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian dishes that serve as an introduction to plant-based foods. The menu speaks to the Black culinary palate, while still being good for the body.
Prior to stepping into her path as a restauranteur, Robyn was a data scientist for the Centers for Disease Control studying chronic health issues and the impact that food habits had on small communities, particularly those affected by food deserts.
Inspired by the desire to combat such conditions, which disproportionately impact Black communities, she combined her 20 years of experience in population health to provide food alternatives that could make a difference.
“And that’s not only because of my research, but that’s also because of what we experienced ourselves with death in our own families,” she tells ESSENCE. “That was really the thinking behind building out the recipes and the menu to address those needs.”
“We started seeing how everyone around us was dying at an early age; we had friends dying in their 50s and aunts that were dying in their 60s,” she adds. “But when we moved to the suburbs, we saw the difference. We saw neighbors who were sprinting up the street who were in their 70s and we also saw that there was a difference in what they were eating and what types of food they had access to that surrounded those communities.”
The difference she spotted was that going just 10 minutes outside of their predominately Black neighborhood highlighted the disparity in having proper access to healthy food selections from grocery stores to restaurants. That was how Local Green was born. Now the brick and mortar business is getting the food truck treatment to take its mission outside of Atlanta all the way to Orlando.
The menu items pays homage to the couple’s shared love for music and Zak’s time working within the Atlanta music scene with names like, “Oh Boy,” a classic vegan cheeseburger, the “Monsta” shrimp burger, and the popular “Rappers Delight,” which is a pescatarian take on the classic Philly cheesesteak.
“The pinnacles of our business are to support the community, but it’s the culture too. And culture for us is music,” she says. “It’s reflected on the menu item names and we just want to be able to give the community that energy.”
For Robyn and Zak, the draw to serve their community and now, their new home at Disney Springs, is more than a vocation, it’s their purpose.
“It really is a calling to be able to save lives in communities where they don’t have access to healthy food; so being here is a way for us to spread that mission,” she says. “The motive behind this was to make sure that people had access to something that they didn’t [before]. Being the first Black food truck and first Black woman restauranteur at Walt Disney is mind-blowing. And for me, it’s just the starting point. There’s so much more we can do.”