3 Worlds Cafe originated at South L.A.'s Jefferson High School as a way for teens to learn healthful eating habits while concocting fruit smoothies sweetened with agave and coconut milk. Soon enough, they were selling up to 200 smoothies a day under the guidance of chef Roy Choi (Kogi, POT, the world). So, in the summer of 2013, Choi, a local nonprofit and the Dole Food Company teamed up to launch the cafe, hiring students to serve mango and strawberry banana smoothies along with coffees, teas, fruits and baked goods. The name pays tribute to the Latinos, Asians and African-Americans who have lived in the neighborhood for generations, attesting to 3 Worlds' commitment to community. Located among mom-and-pop shops and fast-food joints on a strip that was home to jazz clubs a century ago, 3 Worlds is a homey place, with comfy recliners, vivid murals, free Wi-Fi and cheery baristas. Local organizations often host meetings there, and an open-mic night takes over on the first and third Wednesdays of the month. —Daina Beth Solomon
3310 S. Central Ave., Central-Alameda, 90011. (323) 235-5494, facebook.com/3worldscafe.