“Let’s just improve the narrative of soul food stuff,” stated Karter Louis, previous musician and restaurateur. After practically 3 a long time and six brands, Lewis opened his newest undertaking, Soul Slice, on June 19 in Oakland, a date decided on to honor the Juneteenth getaway and the roots of soul food. Because then, the cafe has currently obtained focus for its menu of unique, biscuit crust “pizzas,” topped with Southern-type foods like black-eyed peas and incredibly hot links.
5849 San Pablo Ave (at 59th Street), Oakland
At initial glance, Soul Slice’s menu is daunting and adventurous, a huge collection of traditional soul food items all served in pizza form. For any one who grew up on traditional soul foods, the presentation looks downright sacrilegious. But although Soul Slice makes use of the term “pizza” on its menu, Louis instructed Nosh that “We engage in in the genre of pizza but it is not pizza. It is fundamentally soul food on an open up experience biscuit with soul meals ingredients.”
The planning of Soul Slice’s vegan-welcoming biscuit crust is one particular huge change in between its offerings and Italian-design and style pies. The crust is made up of no butter, is not spun or twirled and doesn’t consist of traditional factors of pizza dough, Louis explained. And although there are 5 pies that have a tomato sauce base, Louis says that none of them use oregano or any other Italian seasonings in the taste profile.
“The tomato sauce is not to mimic the sauce of Italian [pizza]. If you taste it, it is a tiny little bit sweet” Louis reported. “Our tomato sauce carried all the flavors of the components on the biscuit crust.”
The most gutsy pie could be Soul Slice’s black-eyed peas pizza, which consists of marginally crunchy but meaty black-eyed peas, the sweetness of sweet potato, and savory roasted garlic, environmentally friendly onion, alpine cheese and (for acidity) tomato sauce. Fewer the alpine cheese, Louis said, the BEP is a vegan pie.
“Black eyed peas on a biscuit crust truly flavor like meat,” stated Louis. “It’s kind of tricky to wrap your mind close to. Even I considered a person set meat on it. It was fascinating to me.” It’s Soul Slice’s 2nd very best promoting pie, Louis said.
Soul Slice’s greatest vendor is its Cajun shrimp pizza, which is topped with Cajun shrimp, beef sizzling backlinks, tomato, eco-friendly onion, pickled peppers and tomato sauce. The standout component here is the all-beef warm hyperlink rather of the pork backlinks 1 could possibly assume on a standard soul meals menu.
“I preferred diverse expressions of proteins on the menu,” Louis explained. He selected a beef scorching connection for this particular pie to honor some of his Muslim loved ones customers, as very well as other people who eschew pork. It’s also a nod to his roots in Louisville, Kentucky, in which beef very hot hyperlinks are additional prevalent. “It offers additional variance … and I attempt to be inclusive on the menu.”
There is even a pizza form of dessert at Soul Slice, a peach cobbler topped with a one big marshmallow, served on that biscuit crust with a dollop of non-dairy ice cream.
But even though Soul Slice’s aim is on “biscuit crust with soul meals toppings,” as Lewis places it, there are also selections on the menu that are presented on their have. Think about the Hoppin’ John, a hearty and vegan dish of force-cooked black eyed peas, chives, garlic, onions and Carolina Gold’s rice. The expression “Hoppin’ John” refers to a tale in a person of the earliest American cookbooks, “The Carolina Housewife, 1847” in which a male named John “came a-hoppin” when the dish was geared up. “There are so quite a few ways to use black eyed peas and I believe it’s a single of the star components of our menu,” Louis reported of the dish, which he suggests is an underutilized day-to-working day foods beyond the Southern custom of serving BEPs as a New Year’s working day food.
There is also a perform on salmon croquettes, only this time it is a catfish croquette, a patty of contemporary tender catfish and potato served with “soul sauce,” for a spike of heat. “In our dwelling it was manufactured with mackerel,” mentioned Louis “In Kentucky, it was under no circumstances designed with salmon.” The dish is plated with al dente garlic collard greens and roasted sweet potatoes.
Washing down your tastings on tap at Soul Slice are brews from Oakland’s Federation Brewery and the Bay Area’s first Black-owned beer business, Hunter’s Level Brewing. Louis suggests that his intention is to be certain that a lot of Soul Slice’s consume checklist is from Black and brown-owned alcohol producers. “We have an prospect to present items that are produced by Black and brown individuals that truly helps make it much more accessible,” Louis reported which include Chardonnay from the very first Black-owned winemaker in California, House of Brown, and purple mix wine from Black winemaker Danny Glover of Healdsburg-dependent L’Objet Wines.
All of this is a significant departure for Louis, who was an running partner in San Francisco mini-tea chain Samovar in advance of founding the now-shuttered Appalachian-design and style cafe Hillbilly Tea in his former hometown. “I’ve completed all these dining places, I love meals, but how does it genuinely hook up to me?” Louis explained of his preceding ventures. In a lot of methods, Soul Slice is an endeavor to deliver all those Bay Location-fulfills-Louisville threads together.
What is currently being cultivated at Soul Slice is an supplying that pushes its buyers out of their convenience zone whilst even now honoring classic features in soul foods. “Soul Slice is non-pretentious and celebrates the heritage of soul foodstuff in a extremely progressive and modern-day way,” stated Louis. “Basically to give glory and honor to a cooking that is not focused on as considerably and does not get as considerably credit as it warrants.”
Soul Slice is open up Wednesdays via Saturdays from 3 p.m.- 9 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.