“It’s a labor of love.”

That’s what Shawn Rae Jordan, owner of the Something Better Cafe, said about her vegan restaurant. 

The Something Better Cafe opened its location at 721 North Dixie Avenue about a month ago. Its hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday. 

“We don’t really have a set menu,” Jordan said. “Our items change each day. Customers only pay what they can afford and think is appropriate, and they pay in cash. 

“I just know when it’s me, if I’m skeptical of food that I buy, I don’t want to be stuck with something I don’t like. That’s why sometimes I’ll even let somebody have it (food) on me.” 

Jordan said a lot of people are skeptical of vegan food items.

“I haven’t eaten meat since the late ’80s, so I was a vegetarian,” she said. “So I always thought to be a vegan that you’d die. Everybody said ‘oh, you have to eat some cheese and milk or something.’ But for me, it was when I came into the health message of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. They have a very strong health message.

“So I went vegan and when I got more information about the health implications, it was very easy for me because I was already a vegetarian for so long, so I just stopped with the rest of it.”

She said for most people it’s a big lifestyle change that doesn’t occur overnight.

“It’s all about progress,” she said. “It’s silly to think someone can go from eating fast food all the time to a strict vegan diet immediately. That’s not how it works.” 

 Jordan is a Virginia native who found her way to Cookeville by happenstance about one year ago.

“I came here on a fluke, actually,” she said. “Someone needed to go to Murfreesboro and they couldn’t drive the distance, so they asked me to drive. They knew I wanted to open something and that I didn’t know where I was going to do it. They just drove me around. And I don’t know, something just impressed me that this was the place.”

She bought the building and renovated it. 

“We just want the community to know that healthy food doesn’t always mean compromising in taste,” she said. “You can enjoy food that also makes you feel better.”

Vegan cafe offers options for all

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