The first thing you notice when you walk in the door at Angelea’s Soul Food Kitchen is that this place is a family affair. And if there is one thing the Rogers siblings—Bobby, Angel, Dwayne, and Terence Evans (aka Chef Tereso)—want customers to walk away with after visiting their new Brooklyn Park restaurant, it’s a sense of love and energy that their late mother, Angelea, gave to them.
“When we think about the spirit of kindness, and making sure everyone’s good before yourself—that’s the spirit that lives on in Angelea’s [Soul Food Kitchen],” Bobby says. “Soul food is so communal and inviting, and it's for everyone, and in that same spirit, we’re here to treat everyone with that same energy.”
It’s important to note that when family is spoken of at Angelea’s, it's not meant in the nuclear sense. “When you come into Angelea’s, the love you get and the food you’re served help you become part of the family,” Bobby explains. “Just as if friends would come over for the holidays, you’re shown the same love as everyone else.”
After their mother passed away in late 2017 at the young age of 49, the siblings decided to bring Angelea’s Soul Food Kitchen to life. “My siblings and I wanted to do something to honor our mom and her legacy, the things she taught us—and one of the things Angel and Dwayne learned and are able to do really well was make soul food,” said Bobby. “Through many birthdays and holidays, we realized how much everyone always loved the cooking, so we figured, why not?”
Angelea’s is a quaint space where Mama Ti’s African Kitchen once operated. It’s just big enough for four stools along a counter, and three small tables. “My sister owns two other businesses on the same stretch of Zane and Brooklyn Boulevard within a mile of each other: a learning center and a barbershop,” Bobby says. “It’s been the area we have called home since our upbringing. Back in 2006, my oldest niece and I all shared a one-bedroom apartment about a half-mile down from here. [Opening Angelea’s is] really a full-circle moment.”
The science of placing an order at Angelea’s consists of picking your choice of meat and two sides. Per Chef Tereso’s suggestion, I went for the jerk chicken, along with yams and mac and cheese. Everything comes with some cornbread, because cornbread is life in the grand scheme of soul food.
Once you pay, you wait.
Each order comes in a container, and the contents of said container are displayed to the customer once your name is called. When Chef Tereso opened the contents, I felt like Vincent in Pulp Fiction. The mac and cheese glows with a smooth and silky sheen from all the cheese slathered upon it, the yams are golden and gleaming, and the steam from the food escapes into the air, like Lebron James doing the chalk toss, displaying its freshness straight from the oven to you.
The jerk chicken comes as a quarter piece, smothered lavishly in bell peppers, onions, and plenty of jerk seasoning, which permeates the jasmine rice below. Immediately upon opening my container and huddled over the stool, patrons ooh and aah. One yelled, “I want what he got” excitedly to the people at the register. Upon my first bite of mac and cheese, their reaction, beaming with excitement, made sense.
The mac and cheese is savory, delicious, and gooey. Since the mac and cheese at Angelea’s is oven-baked, a heaping portion of cheese and cream is used (the specific recipe is a secret). The recommended jerk chicken is just as delightful. Sinking your teeth in reveals that the peppers and onions (grilled with a slight bit of char and smothered onto the chicken) have fallen on the bed of basmati rice where they’ve steeped into the rice with the chicken’s jerk seasoning. That seasoning packs a flavorful and robust kick, but isn’t super spicy. In between bites, the yams and cornbread help cleanse your palate, and are equally savory in their own right. The Rogers siblings’ love, labor, and effort comes through with every bite.
For your sweet tooth, Angelea’s has you covered with an assortment of cheesecakes and a fresh fruit smoothie to wash down all the delicious food you just enjoyed. They’ve even got salad options for your inner vegetarian—or actual vegetarians.
Bobby describes the Angelea’s experience best when he says, “If you’re eating soul food on a holiday, you’re waiting well into the evening to get your plate. However, at Angelea’s we’ve reduced that wait time by 90 percent. You still might have to wait a half-hour for your favorite side or main to be cooked with care, since we make everything fresh and on the spot daily, but you can’t rush the joy and satisfaction you get from authentic soul food.”
Angelea’s Soul Food Kitchen officially opened its doors on January 24, and despite the occasional wait, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. A plethora of patrons have kept the family working nonstop thanks to videos on Facebook showing off some of the menu options being cooked up by the staff in the kitchen. Seeing the smiles on people’s faces, and people sharing the food via social channels, has made the Rogers family know that the spirit of Angelea lives on.
Angelea’s Soul Food Kitchen
7800 Zane Ave. N., Brooklyn Park