Walk through the front door, and the first thing that hits you is the sweet smell of smoked barbecue. The décor of red linen tablecloths with decorative candles is deceiving, because Heart N’ Soul Café & Lounge at 809 Central Ave. is really finger-licking home cooking by its owner and proprietor, Carol Hampton.
No stranger to the restaurant business, the former owner of Positively Good Soul Food in Stockton said the opportunity to open Heart N’ Soul was too good to pass up.
“It was presented to me on Sept. 2, and seven days later I opened,” she said. “I have a passion for cooking. I love to cook. I want to put my heart and my soul into it.”
Thus, the name.
Heart N’ Soul, located at the former site of Mr. P’s Hot Spot and the Jazz Cafe, is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Sunday. Prices range from $6 to $10 for lunch and $10 to $12 for dinner items.
Their specialty dishes include barbecued ribs, tri tip, chicken and links, all served with potato salad, homemade baked beans and bread.
Once the restaurant catches on, Hampton said the menu will eventually feature additional items such as yams, greens and fried fish specials. A great way to wrap up one of her lip-smacking meals is some of her homemade peach cobbler or sweet potato pie.
Meals are served for dine-in or take-out, but they also offer a catering service for special occasions, cooking out of their Sixth Street kitchen facility.
“I try to make sure I give my customers the best quality of food with my own special touches to it,” she said. “Right now, we’re focusing on barbecue,” which is all smoked in the back of the restaurant.
Open Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Heart N’ Soul will eventually feature a wine and beer menu with live band performances, a sports night and an open microphone evening for local comics. And when it comes to Tracy, Hampton is no stranger, having owned and operated Positive Image salon from 1995 to 2000.
Hampton said her restaurant, which she co-owns with business partner Sonny Reed, is a kickback place for mature crowds, a place to get good food and enjoy a glass of red wine to relax away a tough day of work.
For information: 833-7589.