In November of 2018, three close friends opened Soul Taco in a tiny Richmond storefront. It showcased well-liked Latin American food items with a soupcon of soul. Govt chef Ari Augenbaum details to al pastor – grilled pork cooked with pineapple.
“We do a root beer braised oxtail al pastore,” he says. “You get some of the sweetness that would usually arrive down from the pineapples in a classic al pastore, and then we do it with a pineapple and roasted jalapeno salsa.”
Also on provide, cornmeal crusted catfish with a tomatillo salsa, hush puppy dog nachos and Mississippi pot roast flautas.
Immediately after just two months in small business, co-owner Trey Owens says they received an award from the Microsoft Community.
“By January of 2019 we were being the best new cafe in the town,” he recalls. “We got very best tacos in the condition. We obtained a whole lot of national recognition. We were featured on Diners, Generate-ins and Dives.”
The meals at Soul Taco was so well-liked that he, Augenbaum and husband or wife Nar Hovnanian additional a next restaurant in Shockoe Base, and now they’ve appear up with a new strategy, pairing African and Jewish favorites.
“You know I was considering: Jewish-African – what can we identify it?” Owens points out. “It virtually just jumped out at me. I was like: ‘JewFro!’”
This fall Augenbaum says JewFro will open in Shockoe featuring strange menu merchandise like West African peanut soup with a Morrocan-seasoned lamb kreplach.
“Kreplach is a conventional dumpling my mom employed to make the night ahead of Yom Kippur in advance of the rapidly,” claims Augenbaum.
Hovnanian, who handles the group’s PR and internet marketing, admits the dish may well sound odd.
“Peanut butter and soup just does not audio that fantastic. We had all tasted it, and we beloved it, but we weren’t guaranteed how the public was likely to watch that dish.”
They offered it at a pop-up cafe in excess of the holiday seasons and were inspired.
“It won’t make the menu if we really don’t come across it tasty,” she suggests. “We experienced folks purchasing our chopped liver in quarts.”
The restaurant’s theme is the 1970’s – a ten years when one particular well known band introduced the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. It is a time that resonates with Owens.
“My father was born in the 50’s, so he fairly a great deal grew up in the 70’s, and so that was the new music I was born listening to. And I am an Aquarius!”
At that time Jews stood together with African-People in america in the on-heading combat for civil legal rights. In that same spirit, these 21st century foodies believes the time is suitable for a political message – that these two teams have a good deal in prevalent and must be close friends.
“In the past dining places and smaller enterprises have type of stored themselves out of the political realm,” Hovnanian states, “but it’s 2021, and all people is just type of in anything at this point” so we made a decision we would consider our hand at it.”
At the very least, Augenbaum states the diverse culinary cultures of Judaism and the large African continent go really perfectly collectively. Acquire JewFro’s reuben sandwich – traditional corned beef, “zulu-fashion kraut” and Swiss cheese coupled with unique African spices on rye.
“When we lastly put it alongside one another the initially time, I was just like, ‘Holy …’ I’m not supposed to say this on the radio, right? But it just blew our minds. The Awaze that we put into the Russian dressing is an Ethiopian spice blend, and then we’re carrying out a ras el hanout, which is both Tunisian and Egyptian, in the slaw that goes on the sandwich as properly.”
Time will tell if Virginia is ready for these radical new mixtures, but the Richmond restauranteurs are currently betting on success – setting up to open up a Soul Taco and a Jewfro aspect by facet in downtown Raleigh this tumble.
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