Tupac Estate Opens Powamekka Cafe Based on His Letters in Downtown Los Angeles


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It’s been 25 years since Tupac was tragically shot and killed in Las Vegas, but his legacy has only grown. That’s because his blinding talent and influence will forever live on, casting a long shadow over West Coast hip hop in particular. And it’s also because his family and estate have been incredibly proactive and smart with Shakur’s vast archive, releasing half a dozen posthumous albums, approving his hologram appearances, and keeping his memory alive of countless ways.

Tupac was a rapper, actor, and poet, among others, and he was reputedly prolific, filling entire archives full of tapes and idea notebooks. One such idea, according to The Shakur Estate, was for a restaurant called Powamekka Cafe, which its notebooks call “a passionate paradise for 4 people with power 2 games and parlays”, and a space to “escape the cold reality of the world”. Could this be the concept he was referring to when he told Sway he was opening a restaurant with Snoop, Suge and Alanis Morissette?

The Powamekka Cafe opened in Los Angeles on June 16, which would have been Tupac’s 41st birthday, in conjunction with Fixins Soul Cafe at LA Live in Downtown LA. The space is adorned with Tupac notes and artwork, candles bearing his designs, and quotes from his handwriting etched on the walls.

The menu comes straight from the cannons of southern cuisine and soul, with okra, fried chicken, meatloaf and fried chicken wings tossed in the sauce as its cousin Jamala prefers. Sides include macaroni and cheese, red beans and rice and potato salad, and desserts fall into a similar category: peach cobbler, banana pudding and sweet potato pie. There are also a few Juneteenth specials — a red, black, and green layered Juneteenth cake, and a new batch of Holla If Ya Hear MeLager, brewed by Sacramento’s Oak Park Brewing Co. in conjunction with the Shakur Estate.

The pop-up is also a partnership with Wake Me When I’m Free, an immersive museum exhibit featuring videos, audio and installations with artifacts, memorabilia and writings about Tupac and by Tupac himself. . The exhibit even has the specific section of Tupac’s notebooks in which he talks about coffee. Put the two pieces together and you have a full day of Tupac to discover.

Powamekka Cafe is open seven days a week, until 9 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on weekends, daily from now until June 30. Reservations are available on OpenTable.

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Ben Mesirow is an Echo Park native who writes for TV, fiction, food, and sports. At one time or another his writings have appeared in The Los Angeles Time, liter, McSweeney’s Internet Trend, Los Angeles Magazineand engraved on dozens of desks at Walter Reed Middle School.


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