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Vegan Eats Entrepreneur Opening Grab-and-Go Shop in NW Fresno
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By Edward Smith
Published 1 month ago on
May 21, 2024

Rappit Up owner Janna Melkonian will open her grab-and-go restaurant on Saturday, June 1. It will feature a wide variety of plant-based foods. (Special to GV Wire)

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If you’ve been driving past Bullard and Marks avenues you may have noticed windows at the southwest corner papered up for the past year. The owner of what will be a vegan grab-and-go restaurant is unveiling the fruits of her labor on Saturday, June 1.

“I don’t just make it to taste good, I make it so that it’s also healthy.” — Janna Melkonian, owner, Rappit Up! 

Janna Melkonian will debut Rappit Up! at 3083 W. Bullard Ave. with a ribbon cutting and food samples.

That day, she’ll also show off her plant-based tacos made with potatoes, vegan chorizo, and oyster mushrooms.

While Melkonian has been selling her eats and entrees at coffee shops and gyms for years, the new shop gives people an opportunity to grab from the cornucopia of plant-based meals she has to offer.

“I feel that you can make everything plant-based and delicious,” Melkonian said. “So, I want to bring that to the customers to show that you don’t have to get tired of plant-based meals. It’s not just a boring old salad or pasta or something like that. It could be super colorful. It could be very enticing.”

Clockwise from top-left, breakfast scramble bagel, mushroom onion cheezy mac, sweet fall salad, and rise & shine bowl. (Special to GV Wire)

Demand Powers to Decision to Open Brick and Mortar

Melkonian started selling pre-packaged meals at the hair salon she worked at in 2016. Customers and coworkers would eat while getting their hair done or on their breaks. It didn’t take long before she began home delivery.

By 2020, she was selling to gyms and coffee shops such as Kuppa Joy, Collect Coffee Bar, and Rio Acai. Melkonian thought the pandemic would shut her down as it did many of the coffee shops where she sold her wraps, salads, and pastas. Instead, her pivot to direct-to-customer sales boomed.

That demand let her know she needed a brick-and-mortar location. She thought about a dine-in restaurant, but then realized what people wanted was something faster than that.

“We do have a lot of places that you can sit down and eat at, but not many places where you can walk in, have a huge variety of items to choose from and pick a bunch of things for your whole week and go,” Melkonian said.

Storefront Enables Melkonian to Show Off Her Full Variety of Meals

Melkonian describes her food first and foremost as plant based. While also vegan, she stresses no artificial colors or foods. She focuses on whole grains, beans, legumes, fresh fruits, and veggies. But she also didn’t want customers to have to pick between healthy or delicious.

Melkonian will have breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert options for people looking to grab something and go. Instead of cooking everything on a Sunday and leaving it out for the week, she cooks every day. The only day the store will be closed is Thursday.

Inside the fridge, she’ll have bowls, salads, sandwiches, wraps, pastas, and soup. She has plant-based lasagnas, enchiladas, and spring rolls. She also has a wide variety of desserts.

She’ll still be doing deliveries off of her website, Rappitupfoods.com.

“I don’t just make it to taste good, I make it so that it’s also healthy,” Melkonian said.

Clockwise from top left: smokey burger grub wrap, rollin’ ricotta rolls, and buckwheat bliss bowl. (Special to GV Wire)

Cooking Is a Big Part of Melkonian’s Life

Melkonian didn’t want to limit the options at Rappit Up! to a handful of items. She admits that having so many options can be stressful, but she’s always loved serving people good food. She would be the cook for birthdays.

“I grew up loving to serve and cater to my family because I loved seeing their reactions every time I made something,” Melkonian said.

Her grandmother taught her the importance of good, healthy food.

Melkonian stresses that her food is intended for anyone trying to eat healthier.

“We’re really reaching out to nature and bringing it to you through food,” Melkonian said. “So, nothing is heavily processed. It’s naturally sourced.”

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Edward Smith,
Multimedia Journalist
Edward Smith began reporting for GV Wire in May 2023. His reporting career began at Fresno City College, graduating with an associate degree in journalism. After leaving school he spent the next six years with The Business Journal, doing research for the publication as well as covering the restaurant industry. Soon after, he took on real estate and agriculture beats, winning multiple awards at the local, state and national level. You can contact Edward at 559-440-8372 or at Edward.Smith@gvwire.com.

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