“Baked mac and cheese, that’s our famous thing.” So says Food for the Soul owner Robert Richardson in today’s ProJo. Richardson tells the Journal that since the death of George Floyd in May “he started to see customers coming in who said they wanted to support local Black-owned businesses,” and maybe we can help stimulate more of that.
This touching profile by Madeleine List is part of the Sunday Journal cover story “Summer of Uncertainty,” a series of interviews with everyday Rhode Islanders. Once the quarantine hit, Richardson switched to ‘takeout only’ (GrubHub, Uber Eats, etc.) and that has been working well enough. He has also been “contracting with the city to cater meals once a month for Crossroads, the state’s largest social-services agency serving the homeless population.”
This essay is about much more than food and you should go read it. List has a good eye for detail.
“Collard greens used to be a slave food,” he said, as he sat beneath a painting on the wall of his restaurant that depicts the 12 disciples of Jesus as important figures in Black history, along with Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. Richardson explained that slave owners ate spinach and white potatoes, while enslaved people were given collard greens and sweet potatoes, which he said were considered lesser foods at the time.
“Now, it’s a delicacy today.”
I need to see that painting. And this building is adorable. Richardson has owned Food for the Soul for fifteen years now — eons in the restaurant business under the best of circumstances — here’s to another fifteen-plus. And until the restaurant reopens . . . Uber Eats, Grub Hub . . . keep it going.
Food for the Soul, 149 Admiral Street, 401.490.2796, (directions)