A sunny afternoon I decided to take a walk down Grove Street in Jersey City and noticed a sign that read “TV’s Food Network Chopped Champion Chef Wayne” in bright colors right outside the window. Above it the awning read, Soul Flavors and it sparked the interest my friend and I to walk over to check out the restaurant.
As we proceeded to walk into the intimate 35-seat restaurant, we were warmly greeted by the Floor Manager, Willy who sat my guest and I promptly with a menu. As we reviewed the menu, it was apparent that it would be Soul Food but also had Caribbean dishes. The menu offered a large variety of appetizers, entrees, desserts, and even a $33 combo which seemed cost-efficeient as well as plentiful. The $33 combo included an appetizer, entree, side, and dessert. It is also noted that some entrees will take 25 minutes because they are made to order, which I could understand and appreciate.
Willy also served as our waiter who was ready to take our order. I decided on “Half & Half” [house made cornbread/biscuits] as an appetizer, and for entree the Buttermilk Marinated Fried Chicken with sides Braised Collard Greens and Roasted Sweet Potatoes. My guest decided on the Buttermilk Marinated Chicken & Waffles [served with a maple cream reduction].
As we waited on my food, we were informed that it was a BYOB restaurant and that the nearest wine store was just across the street. I knew that the entrees that were ordered would take at least 25 minutes to be ready, as earlier noted. I ventured across the street to purchase a bottle of Relax Riesling and once returned the first course had just arrived.
The “Half & Half” was served warm with softened butter. Once I had taken my first bite of the biscuit it simply melted in my mouth with buttery and countless layers of flakiness. The cornbread, as I hoped favored a light yet dense pound cake with vibrant corn kernels nestled though out. It reminded me of great childhood memory, I was enticed and salivating for my entree.
Once the entrees had arrived, I was awe by just the aromas and sight of succulent fried chicken, sweet smelling Belgian waffle, and mouth-watering side dishes. The chicken stared me down waiting for me to make the first move and I went in! Although I had eaten the chicken, I felt defeated because the moist, well-seasoned, crispy bird had brought me to its surrender. The BEST Fried Chicken I had ever had, so great it would make your mother jealous! As I tried the waffle it was everything I ever wanted, sweet and moist inside yet crispy on the outside. The maple cream reduction complimented both the chicken and waffle so well. If that wasn’t enough both the collard greens and roasted sweet potatoes were great accompaniments to this well-orchestrated dish.
I will frequently return to Soul Flavors for great food and genuine hospitality. It is recommended to make reservations at Soul Flavors via phone, fax, and their website, soulflavors.com as it attracts a wide demographic of all ages and races. It has caught the eye of Rapper Kanye West, where he hosted his own intimate birthday party and has listed Soul Flavors as his favorite New Jersey restaurant.
About The Chef:
Chef Wayne Lyons was featured on Food Network’s Chopped in 2010. Before his acclaimed fame, Queens native, had come from a rough lifestyle. He sparked his first interest in cooking as a child with making crepes and reading several cookbooks and magazines. From a young age to his adulthood he faced the worldly demons of drugs and alcohol, that almost took over his life. Once Wayne’s first child was born, he decided that it was time to turn his life around and “become a positive force in his son’s life”.
After Wayne got in himself back in order, luckily enough through his rough times he earned an architectural degree so he proceeded to continue doing that. After awhile, he grew uninterested and a family friend who worked with the Marriott Corporation introduced him to the culinary world. Wayne worked hard from bottom up to Executive Chef, eventually branching off into his catering business, Melange Caterers. He became very successful with his catering business, making great contacts. In 2007, he moved from Queens to Jersey City to open Soul Flavors, which started off rough because of the economy but as a result of him winning Chopped, it brought more business, great publicity, and a loyal customer base.
For more information about Wayne Lyons or Soul Flavors, visit soulfavors.com or come to the restaurant at 354 Grove Street Jersey City, NJ 07302. Call For Reservations at 201.217.3004 . Also follow him on Twitter @SoulChefWayne .
Thank You For Reading,