Black Business Spotlight: Soul to Soul Smokehouse

Photo by Ashley Lauren l-r) Anthony Simmons, Jewuan Marshall and Charles Robinson

New barbecue restaurant is a smokin’ success

Attention, BBQ lovers: a new spot opened in May. Local entrepreneurs Anthony Simmons, Jewuan Marshall, and Charles Robinson are the owners of Soul to Soul Smokehouse, a newly opened restaurant located at the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis.

The owners are focused on providing patrons with high-quality, smoked barbecue and a positive experience. Everyone is welcome to place an order for takeout or dine-in. There’s plenty of seating available. “We want you to feel the love, the quality, and feel it in your soul,” said Simmons.

The hard-working business partners enjoy cooking and working as a team, which is a dream come true for them. Simmons emphasized how he developed a love for cooking as a youth. “I was one of those kids that came into the kitchen when dinner wasn’t done,” he recalled. So his mother encouraged him to provide assistance, and he would help with preparation. “That’s how it kind of started—it’s been a love and passion of mine, all my life,” Simmons said.

He added, “I’m originally from Philly. I moved here to Minneapolis in ’94 so I’m kind of a hybrid now.” Marshall and Robinson are originally from Chicago. They arrived in Minnesota in 1995. The talented trio have been cooking and barbecuing for years before they chose to become business partners.

There’s an interesting backstory of the business. Simmons said, “We were sitting around one day, I think we’re playing dominoes—it was just one of those times we didn’t want to cook.” They brainstormed different places, but weren’t able to decide what they wanted to eat, which inspired them to create their own menu.

The owners love to cook and create soulful smoked barbecue. Simmons said, “It’s been a love and passion of mine all my life.” He added, “I’ve literally worked every position in a full-service restaurant from front to back—literally did everything, busboy, barback, bartender, manager, server.” His experiences in the restaurant industry motivated him to become an independent business owner, alongside his business partners.

A lot of hard work has been put into the restaurant. The owners are dedicated and work as a collective to prepare the delicious smoked barbecue. “Everything is done from scratch; we do our own sauces, our own dry rub, cook cornbread in cast iron skillets, every morning.” Everyone is committed to preparing a tasty variety of smoked barbecued cuisines, sweet desserts, and tasty side dishes.

Their food is truly one-of-a-kind and unique. Simmons said, “We’ve got our millionaire wings,” and they’re named after KMOJ’s Chaz Millionaire. “He bit the rib and then he bit the chicken and said it was a smoked fried wing.” From that moment, the owners decided to perfect the recipe and now they offer it to customers.

The owners encourage individuals to try their smoked barbecue, which is made from scratch. “It’s not only a quality meal, you get value,” Simmons said. Customers can expect generous portions of food, exceptional customer service, and high-quality food.

Courtesy of Soul to Soul Smokehouse

There’s an array of flavorsome options on the menu. Customers can purchase smoked meat dinners. The choices range from beef ribs, brisket, pork ribs, pork, chicken, and turkey.

The menu showcases more than succulent smoked barbecue. It also offers fried meat dinners, jumbo smoked fried chicken wings, catfish filets, and jumbo shrimp.

Customers can also request signature Smokehouse sandwiches. They have beef brisket, smoked pork, and smoked turkey breast sandwiches. There are delicious side dishes and extras available, including cornbread, mac and cheese, collard greens, black-eyed peas, creamy coleslaw, char-grilled corn on the cob, and more.

There are also desserts. “We have banana pudding, a sweet potato ice cream, pecan bourbon butter cake, and a Kola ice cream,” Simmons said. He added, “We wanted to create some things that you really need to come here for.”

The owners provided MSR with an opportunity to look behind the scenes. Their kitchen has high-quality BBQ smokers. “We can carry 92 racks of ribs in that thing at one time,” Simmons said. The alluring scent of smoked barbecue lingered throughout the atmosphere.

So far, the smoked barbecue is very popular and the community is showing outpouring support. “We cater to the Boys and Girls Club at Phelps on 38th and Chicago—they get 30 meals from us every Friday,” Simmons said. The demand for their food is increasing and they are grateful.

The owners offered parting advice for entrepreneurs: “Whatever you’re passionate about, follow it—it could be basketball photos, animals, wildlife, there are so many different opportunities for us out here,” Simmons said.

He added, “We’re so underrepresented—follow your dreams.”

Soul to Soul Smokehouse is located at 920 East Lake St., Minneapolis, MN. Business hours are Wednesday through Saturday, from 11 am to 7 pm, and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm.

For more info, visit www.soulsmokehouse.com or call 612-354-2923.

About Ashley Lauren

Ashley Lauren is a contributing writer at the MN Spokesman-Recorder. She can be reached at alauren@spokesman-recorder.com.

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