Uptown Soul Food Pop-Up Restaurant: The Vision Behind the Return

By Takia McClendon

This weekend, the Uptown Soul Food Vegetarian Pop-Up Restaurant will return to Wired Beans Cafe for a night of “soul food” inspired plant-based cuisine. At $8.00/platter, attendees will have the opportunity to try fresh, creative plant-based food with cultural ties to traditional African American & Caribbean culinary history. The pop-up will start at 6:00PM and end once there’s no more food left to serve.

Why Germantown? 

Food culture in Philadelphia can be intimidating. Popular food events in Philadelphia’s Center City District often come with a hefty price tag. For a city whose average household income is estimated at $35,000/year, a $100 meal for two is often out of reach for many. The Uptown Soul Food Pop-Up was created to give all residents an opportunity to experience a meal outside of the home without having to settle for neighborhood eateries whose menu often lack vegetable options and are laced with heavily processed foods and saturated fats. For a neighborhood that is rich in history and is emerging as a plant-based cuisine haven, I believe Germantown is the perfect location to host the pop-up restaurant.

“Soul food is enjoyed by black folk, whom it reminds of their southern roots.”- Dr. Fred Douglass Opie

Studies show that four of the top five leading causes of death of African Americans (heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes) can be prevented, and in some cases, reversed, by adopting a healthy diet. However, a change in diet may be viewed as a threat to culture, culinary traditions and family history. Uptown Soul Food uses seasonings, spices, and methods that are often associated with southern/soul food cooking but uses beans, nuts, tofu and other alternatives to cook foods that are traditionally laced in “bad” dietary fats. The Pop-Up will give community members  a chance to experience dishes that they identify with culturally but shows that the recipes can be altered to fit a healthier lifestyle.

What’s on the Menu?

The menu features the return of the Carolina Classic Fried Chick’n Sandwich. Our deep fried crispy chick’n is served on a whole grain bun with lettuce and tomato and topped with Sweet Carolina BBQ Sauce. The Carolina Classic Fried Chicken Sandwich is paired with a side of Macaroni & Cheese. We’ll also be serving Caribbean-Style Jerk Tofu Kebabs. You’ve never tasted tofu like this! Our Kebabs are soaked in a spicy jerk marinade and served over brown rice. Kebabs are paired with our signature Red Pepper Collard Greens. Lastly, our weekend’s favorite pick is the Sweet-Potato Kale Wrap. It’s served on a whole grain wrap with brown rice, dried cranberries and walnuts.

If your health is your wealth, make every meal an investment. 

The Uptown Soul Food Pop-Up Restaurant is just one component of a campaign that will encourage Philadelphians to adopt healthier lifestyles. It is our hope that Pop-Up attendees are inspired to choose diets that are more abundant in fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains. Our food is made with ingredients that are accessible to all residents and can be easily made at home. Follow Uptown Soul Food on Instagram and Twitter for updates, cooking tips, recipes and other resources needed to transition into a healthier lifestyle.

The Uptown Soul Food Pop-Up Restaurant will take place on February 24, 2013 at Wired Beans Cafe 301 W. Chelten Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19144 between 6:00-9:00PM. 

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