When Soul opens Friday in the Proctor neighborhood, it will bring a few styles of food that we’re short on in South Sound – Latin American cuisine and Southern style soul food.
Co-owner Natural Allah described the menu as the greatest hits of comfort eating from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Peru and the Southern United States. That means a menu that will list pernil from Puerto Rico alongside Peruvian tamales and fried catfish with greens and macaroni and cheese.
UPDATE 8/16: Soul announced via its Facebook page that due to a permit problem, the restaurant will now open Friday, Aug. 23.
Diners won’t see hodgepodge fusions of Latin and Southern food. Rather, dishes will stay true to their original architecture. Fried chicken will come with red beans and rice and Cuban pork with yellow rice. However, should diners want a mash-up of fried chicken with Cuban style yellow rice? That’ll be just fine, said co-owner Jennifer Zaskorski, who counts herself the type of diner who dislikes rigid restaurant rules that prohibit mixing and matching.
Allah and Zaskorski are the co-owners of Vinum Coffee and Wine Lounge, a downtown Tacoma cafe that’s a coffee shop by day and a music destination by night. Vinum hosts open mic nights Thursdays and alternates neo Soul and swing dancing on Fridays.They opened Vinum in 2011.
Soul’s creation springs from Allah’s upbringing in the Bronx. He misses Puerto Rican, Cuban and Dominican food – staple cuisines around the neighborhood where he grew up. In the kitchen at Soul is Maria Torres, a Le Cordon Bleu graduate who has designed a menu with some of her favorite homestyle meals from her native Puerto Rico.
Beginning Friday, the restaurant will serve lunch and dinner daily and breakfast on the weekends. Soul will operate in the upstairs dining space that was formerly home to the Old House Cafe. In its previous and brief life as the Staircase Cafe, the upstairs dining room presented a traffic problem. I recall wandering upstairs and awkwardly walking straight into a room full of diners. Zaskorski said one solution they’ve come up with is turning the downstairs area of the building into a waiting lounge with seating. Servers will escort diners to their table, she said.
Where: 2717 N. Proctor, 253-761-7685, Facebook