These local dining spots ‘good for your soul’

by Tallahassee Table

Soul food “evokes emotions” when you’re eating it, said Lyrica Leo, 13, who with her sisters, Nadira and Zaira, make up the trio, Bourne Brilliant. With a hand from their mom, the sisters prepare handcrafts plant-based dishes, baked goods, beverages and more in their own Tallahassee cafe.

Photo credit: Bourne Brilliant. Sisters Lyrica, Nadira and Zaira Leo.

“Soul food can be whatever you interpret it as — there are no longer any rules,” said Zaira. “It represents your culture, as well.”

Olean McCaskill, owner of the soul food restaurant, Olean’s Cafe.

We’re fortunate to have several restaurants that serve soul food or their own twist on the beloved, traditional cuisine. “Soul food is something that is good for your soul, and it makes you feel like home,” said Olean McCaskill, owner of Olean’s Cafe.

It is a style of cooking “now associated with comfort and decadence, was born out of struggle and survival,” Vanessa Hayford wrote in an article titled “Humble History of Soul Food” for the site “Black Foodie.”

Photo credit / TC Bakery. One of the luscious cakes at the Southside bakery.

Jennifer Young understands the deep connections. For her, soul food has been synonymous with family and fellowship.

“It was all about bringing family together for Sunday dinners,” said Young, owner of TC Bakery on Tallahassee’s Southside. “It was all about fellowship.”

When she was a little girl, Young’s mother and father ran a popular soul food restaurant in Tallahassee called Ma Mary’s Kitchen from 1989 to 1994, in the same location where Young now has her own bakery. 

I hope you’ll read more about soul food in my article for Tallahassee Magazine. (FYI, my article was written before the opening of Gilliam Sister’s Soul Food so looking forward to trying the restaurant).

If you go …

Olean’s Café

1605 S. Adams St.

(850) 521-0259

TC Bakery

614 Eugenia St.

(850) 577-1776

Bourne Brilliant Cafe

618 McDonnell Drive (at 242 E. Orange Blvd. and shop in the Breezeway Market at Railroad Square Art District)

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