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Hip-hop veteran opens healthy restaurant in Atlanta's westside

Zachary Wallace, who goes by Big Zak, said this restaurant is desperately needed in Atlanta's westside, because of lack of healthy options.

A new, black-owned restaurant in Atlanta's westside community has a powerful mission.

Zachary Wallace, who goes by Big Zak, is a distinguished voice in Atlanta’s hip-hop community. He is directing his energy and creativity into opening a healthy restaurant, Local Green Atlanta in the westside. 

He’s the voice of DJ Greg Street’s longtime radio intro for his 6 p.m. show on V-103. Big Zak also played a hand in Billboard hits with artists like Young Jeezy, Ciara, Keri Hilson and so many others.

His mission to "cook for the culture" started as a personal mission. Zak says he was overweight and wanted to make a lifestyle change. 

And now, his restaurant has an “Insta Wall” where well-known visitors stop by like Keri Hilson, Quality Control executive Coach K, Cee L Green, Motown president Ethiopia Habtemariam, mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and so many others. 

He gave us a tour of the restaurant, which provides pescatarian and vegetarian food options. Zak said this is something desperately needed there because of lack of healthy food options.

“If we don’t expose people to (healthy food options) and see the representation of it in our neighborhoods and in our communities, we will never get it,” he said.

Around the restaurant located on Joseph E. Lowery Blvd, there are fast food chains and convenience stores. Local Green Atlanta stands out in the area. 

“It’s enough chicken places in the neighborhoods,” he said.

Big Zak’s vision for a restaurant started off as a successful food truck that made its way to all the major music festivals during the summer. 

The menu pays homage to hip-hop legends like Andre 3000, Biggie Smalls, Eminem and the Dungeon Family.

Big Zak says as someone who grew up in southwest Atlanta, he’s proud to be a black business owner in a black neighborhood, hoping it inspires others. 

“I spent my whole life out of what I considered to be the hood…. The love needs to be back into the community that raised you,” he said.

Big Zak says he hopes it can become staple in the community. 

The ATL CULTURE digital series explores why and how hip-hop is the thread that connects Atlanta by covering cultural topics linked to the thread - education, economy, justice, housing, and several other categories.

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