Jaya Kava is Philadelphia's first kava kava lounge

ByWendy Daughenbaugh WPVI logo
Tuesday, November 2, 2021
Jaya Kava is Philadelphia's first kava kava lounge
Lightbox Cafe is home to Jaya Kava, the region's first kava kava lounge, and one of the many alcohol-free alternatives the cafe is promoting.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- At Lightbox Cafe, you can get all kinds of vegan fare, from cold-pressed juices, smoothies (called smoodies), avocado toasts and something called a warm bowl, filled with veggies and grains.

But what really sets this place apart? It is the region's first kava kava lounge.

Co-owner, Jennifer Hombach is a yoga teacher who started hosting backyard kava speakeasies in 2019 and describes kava kava as an herbal alternative to drinking alcohol

Last January she met Gabriel Vazquez, who originally intended to open the cafe as a solo venture but invited Hombach to join him.

They say opening the region's first kava cafe is as much about introducing something new as educating people on what exactly Kava is, "plant medicine for stress, anxiety and insomnia."

It's a root that grows in the volcanic soil of the Pacific Islands and drinking it is said to make you feel euphoria.

It is bitter to drink though so Lightbox serves it mixed in a variety of drinks or straight up with a side of pineapple.

Every Thursday, the cafe stays open late to serve Sri Lankan food, a chef partnership with Melissa Fernandez of Sri's Company.

They also sell Amy's Pastelillo's, a stuffed dough popular in Puerto Rico

Their goal is to create an alcohol-free alternative to the neighborhood bar with more chef pop up partnerships.

Jaya Kava | Facebook | Instagram

Lightbox Cafe | Facebook | Instagram

704 S. 4th Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19147