We’re excited to announce our fourth annual Soul Food Week, fourteen days dedicated to a uniquely American cuisine that will feature delicious down-home cooking in honor of one of the pillars of African American foodways, one of monumental importance we feel is the most under-rated cuisine in America.
Soul Food Week was conceived during the summer of 2014, after we spotlighted Adrian Miller’s brilliant book Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, which sparked some emails. A long-time regular customer suggested that we do a Soul Food Week, like a popup, because it’s hard to find good soul food in Chicago so why not hook her (and her friends and family) up? A more recent book, John T. Edge’s The Potlikker Papers, served to remind us how monumentally important this cuisine was during the Civil Rights Movement, and the many women and who fed protesters and boycotters out of their homes and church kitchens, and changed history. So, as we enjoy this cuisine of African American heritage, we seek to honor the roots, and people, who made Soul Food what it is.
Over the years, guests have commented that it’s hard to find good soul food in Chicago: it certainly is on the North Side, so here we are, but there continue to be great spots around the city, so we’ll also look to highlight African American-owned soul food restaurants in Chicago so you’ll be able to further explore the soul food tradition around the city. Institutions like Pearl’s Place and Lem’s, to name just two, are worth the trip to historic Chicago neighborhoods to get the real deal. With the abundance of ethnic cuisines in Chicago, I think our soul food restaurants remain easily the most underrated category, and by introducing our North Side clientele to soul food in our little shop, it is my sincerest hope that we may begin to change that and soul food can take its rightful seat at the table with these many other world cuisines.
As part of Soul Food Week, it has become tradition to have a guest chef for a family-style meal we are calling the Fam Dinner. Past authors and chefs we have featured include Adrian Miller, Stephanie Tyson, Vivian Joiner, and Dora Charles. This year, we are especially honored to turn our kitchen over to Marketa Lucas, who is working with Chef Paul for nine months as a grantee of the James Beard Foundation’s Women in Culinary Leadership Program. We already know what a great cook Marketa is and what a great chef she will be, so come join Marketa and the rest of the Fam for her first big night out! Date and menu of the Fam dinner will be announced by December 31.
Here are the lunch and dinner menus for Soul Food Week 2018: