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The Local Lowdown on the Best of Mattapan

Kwani Lunis went to Mattapan to check out some local businesses in the neighborhood

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Mattapan is a melting pot with big influences from African and Caribbean culture and has a lot to offer, including some spots newbies to the area may not know about.

Le Foyer is a family-owned bakery that's been a staple in the Mattapan neighborhood since 1976.

" I don't have words to describe how privileged I am as the third generation to inherit something like that. Especially since this is a black business. This is an immigrant business. This is a predominantly women-owned business. Yeah, the only male influence was my grandfather who passed in'94, but it's been a family show," says Andre Etienne. He says if you want a taste of Haiti you go there.

The bakery specializes in European-style treats with Haitian flare. "We have the hard cracker. We also do bread from scratch... and we have all the little trinkets, the starch cookies, the cow's tongue it's a little sweet pastry."

If you're always on the go, then your car probably needs some love as well. And Fernandez Xpress Car Wash is the place to go in Mattapan for your auto detailing needs.

Many people from Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic live in Mattapan. As the owner, Yuancarlo Fernandez, points out, " Most of our staff is you know, people of color, people from the community. We cater to everyone that lives here."

Cafe Juice Up opened on Blue Hill Ave in 2019, and they've been nourishing the community ever since. Run by two people of color, one from Haiti, and the other from Antigua, it represents the Mattapan melting pot.

"The space exists, first of all, from two people of color. Denise [O'Marde] is from Antigua and I'm Haitian. And the community at large is a melting pot," shared co-owner Fiex Thevenin.

It also promises good juice. "We serve probably the greatest drinks that are juices and smoothies that you can find in this area," he says.

The cafe also provides electricity for the neighborhood's only community fridge. They also clean and stock up the fridge whenever they can.

Next door you can find Keisha Glover, the owner of the Pink Shoe Lounge. She opened the store for fellow fashionistas but says her shop provides more than just clothes.

She explains, "When you come here, it's not just to buy clothing. You come here to get empowered. I have met so many business owners and women, I should say, and we just come and we powwow and we talk about building one another."

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The Haley House Bakery and Café is a small establishment with a big mission: to support the physical, economic and social well-being of the community, one meal at a time. Kwani Lunis stopped by the Roxbury mainstay to learn more in the latest Local Lowdown.
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