The new Detroit Soul restaurant on Detroit’s east side was filled with the smell of soul food and live music for a one-night Gala preview of their new menu. Detroit Soul, a black-owned family restaurant offers a healthier alternative to soul food while keeping the same taste and smells that we love.
The Sampling Gala
Nearly 50 people gathered to sample small plates of food from the new restaurant, like turkey, dressing, macaroni and cheese, greens, cranberry sauce, cornbread, and vanilla ice cream. Non-alcoholic Beverages were provided by Fade 29 Sangria, crepes were provided by Crepe City and Hors D’oeuvres were by Queen’s catering. The new menu of the restaurant includes entrees priced from $8 to $35.
The first Detroit Soul restaurant, which was open for carry-out and catering, was launched by brothers Jerome Brown and Samuel VanBuren in 2015 on Eight Mile Road. The two will open a brand-new dine-in restaurant in Detroit at 14300 E. Jefferson Ave. in December.
Our goal is to provide the community comfort food with a healthier twist.Jerome Brown
The brothers used southern-style recipes from their family to create and develop their menu. They remembered how, as kids, they had seen how their family was bonded by food and wanted to bring those feelings back to Detroit.
“Soul food was always a center element at our family gathering,” Brown stated. “We would see our big ma’s, aunt, uncles, mother’s preparing meals all day long. We would start with breakfast, then pots are on the stove for lunch and then dinner. For years I had this exposure to food.”
As a side business, Brown and VanBuren chose to informally begin catering events like weddings and graduations across the Detroit neighborhood. They made the decision to establish their business in 2015 after realizing the necessity to restore farm to table food in their neighborhood.
Often times we would tell people how they should eat better, but they don’t have the restaurants or the palette of cuisine, so it was out of that we knew we had something to offer to the city of Detroit.Samuel VanBuren
VanBuren was able to take their family recipes and put a healthier twist to it. “We are staying away from the fat-back, salt pork, and lard and reengineering our items to a healthier option, so that the outcome isn’t bad on our health,” VanBuren says. The owners of the new restaurant will also provide employment opportunities for residents in the community.
“We want to be more than a business in the area,” Brown said. “We want to be a business in the area that’s giving. We want to bring business back to the area. Driving in that area you will not find any restaurants, so we also took that as an opportunity.”
According to Brown, there has been a demand from customers for a dine-in restaurant for Detroit Soul.
“We wanted our restaurant to be in a community and Jefferson fit that glove for us,” he said. “[This] community has a very strong neighborhood association in the Jefferson- Chalmers area, which we had to pitch to the community before we could even be approved to be in that neighborhood. I think our resume showed them that we were a community-based business, so they welcomed us with open arms.”
Family-friendly dining is something Brown and VanBuren are keen to offer at their restaurant
“We want people to come out and have a good time with the family and friends. This is a safe space. We are excited to start serving the community soon because we want residents to be able to enjoy a meal that is not far from their home.”