MERIDEN — The city’s newest soul food eatery is gearing up to open in the next few weeks, pending inspections.
“I’m really anxious, I’m really trying to open these doors up,” owner Deja Durant said. “(We’re) gonna bring a whole new style of food up here.”
Mind, Body & Soul Food, 511 W. Main St., will serve mac-n-cheese, collard greens and chicken and waffles along with cheesesteak sandwiches, chili dogs and tuna wraps. Appetizers include wings, clam strips, shrimp egg rolls and “soul egg rolls” stuffed with mac-n-cheese and yams.
Cook and part-owner John Small said he expects the fried chicken and shrimp will be most popular.
Durant, a lifelong Meriden resident, rented the storefront about eight months ago and did some renovations on what was previously a Subway. A wall was taken down, a new counter added and the walls were painted.
Orange accent walls are donned with wood shelves featuring old records. The decor is meant to make the space feel “comfortable and warm,” Durant said.
“I feel like that’s what soul food is, that’s what it’s always meant for me anyway,” Durant said.
Durant, 35, previously owned Scans Clothing Boutique on East Main Street. After business slowed, he refocused on a soul food venture.
The restaurant will be primarily takeout, with some stools in the front and picnic tables outside, on the side of the building.
Durant isn’t concerned about opening a new restaurant during a pandemic, because he knows a lot of people in the city are eager to support him and enjoy some soul food. The coronavirus pandemic did delay the opening by a few months.
Small, also a Meriden resident, previously owned and operated Big’s Place in Meriden, in the old Smitty’s Snack Bar spot on North Broad Street. Big’s Place, which opened in 2000, offered soul food, including fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, candied yams and peach cobbler, according to Record-Journal archives.
Mind, Body & Soul Food will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Call 203-237-1080.