New soul food place in Cary?
Has anyone tried the new soul food place in cary (I think on E. Chatham). it is named something like "BJ's Soul Food."
My buddy and I went there for lunch yesterday (a Wednesday). It was quite the experience. The place serves “home cookin’ soul food.” Meatloaf, fried chicken, mac ‘n cheese, etc. It is located in the heart of Cary in the former site of Cindy's Restaurant, a short distance from Academy St.
We walked in at 12:05pm to an empty room. No décor on the walls. Some card tables with thin white plastic sheets and folding chairs. One big signboard up behind the counter. Three or four personnel who were very solicitous. I asked them what item they were particularly proud of. Two of them looked at me, nodded approvingly, and said “Our crab cakes.” I said “Great! I love good crab cakes. I’ll have that.” They shook their heads and said, “No, we don’t have crab cakes today.”
So I got the meatloaf. My buddy ordered fried chicken. Our waiter asked whether he wanted white or dark meat and took our order. Came back shortly to ask me whether I wanted ketchup or gravy on my meat. Disappeared for a while. Came back to ask my friend whether a thigh and leg would be all right. Disappeared for a while. Came back to say they were all out of thighs, so would he like two legs? My friend sighed and said, “Just bring me the meatloaf too.” Disappeared for a while. Came back to ask whether he wanted ketchup or gravy. Disappeared for a long while.
Eventually he returned, carrying two plastic plates in that classic three-compartment split design. I had two big slabs of meatloaf and my two sides. My friend had two sides and a big empty compartment. The waiter assured him that his meatloaf would be out soon.
I gave my friend some of my meatloaf so he could eat. His meatloaf showed up after a while.
Now we walked up to the counter to pay. The woman at the register asked if we wanted one bill or separate checks. I don’t know why, but I said separate checks. She carefully punched in one of the orders and said, “Okay, the FIRST one comes to $12.01” and then started punching numbers again with a concentrated look on her face. I said, “Okay, the SECOND one also comes to $12.01. We had exactly the same meals.” She thought about that and had to agree with my logic.
We each reached into our pockets and pulled out some bills. Placed them on the counter in two piles. The woman reared back in horror and exclaimed, “PLEASE! One at a time!”
My friend didn’t have a penny, so he asked me if I had change. I pulled out a dime and handed it to the lady. She carefully made change and handed it to my friend, who walked away to put a tip on the table. Then the woman handed me my change. Can you guess the next sentence?
Correct… She gave my friend $8.09 for his $20.10 and handed me $2.99 for my $15. I smiled sweetly, took the mass of metal and stuck it in my pocket.
I share all that just because it felt like a Monty Python sketch and I was laughing as I walked out.
Obviously they still have some smoothing to do on normal operations, but they were all extremely nice and seemed to honestly care that we were taken care of. On to the more important question - the food:
You order a main course and get a choice of two sides. I tried the fried okra and sweet potato casserole. The okra was just fine... Not soggy, but not quite as hot and fresh as it might have been. The sweet potatoes were as sweet as I expected and fully satisfying. My friend had the green beans, which were cooked long and limp in the traditional Southern style. His potato salad was very tasty and probably the best tasting side of the four we tried.
The meatloaf was a very large portion. It is cut in two thick slabs and seared on both sides for a very nice caramelized crusty crunch. There is good seasoning in it and it was moist without being soggy or greasy. The brown gravy was tasty. No complaints whatsoever.
You also get a big slab of cornbread which was very much to my taste. Moist, dense, and fresh. No kernels of corn, cheese, or vegetables mixed in, for those who look for such things. If you ask, they will bring you some butter pats.
I hope they get more business than I saw yesterday. They seem like nice people and the food is very obviously real, rather than carted in by a large food service delivery truck. I'll go back to try some of the other offerings (hopefully the crab cakes).
Thanks for the report. Just saw it while eating across the street at Taipei 101 (love that place!). It was closed (their hours are 12-5 on Sunday) but we'll have to try it sometime. Hope they work out some of the kinks. Slow service is a dealbreaker for us when dining in (kids get antsy). May be a good option for take out though
This place is yummy! The reason for the closings mentioned below is because they are brand new. Not a chain - literally a poor small couple that decided to open a business. Their decorous plain as of now, but their food is delicious. Like grandmas cooking. Whe they run out of food, it's usually because they allot what they need for the day and of the run out, they run out. I don't mind that - as they are beginners and are trying to save. But still yet - yummy! Crab cakes are the best I ever had. Way more crab than anything else. And the chicken is yum! Check it out for yourself.