Building Community, One Soul Food Plate at a Time – Fi2W on the Radio

With its shifting demographics and redevelopment projects downtown, newer black-owned businesses in Detroit are consciously creating spaces where blacks feel comfortable to eat, shop, and simply be. In her story for WDET, Fi2W Food Journalism Fellow Brittany Hutson takes us to one of those businesses, Detroit Soul. This 3 year-old restaurant on the city’s east side features healthier versions of classic soul food dishes, a farm-to-table dining experience and an approach to service focused on building long-term relationships with customers. Co-owner Jerome Brown says the restaurant was inspired by experiences growing up in Detroit and family visits to the south. 

Detroit Soul employee Doreen Van Buren prepping meatloaf (All photos: Brittany Hutson)

“We wanted to kind of bring back some of the nostalgia or lifestyle of living in a city where you can walk out your door, and walk down the street, and have the ability to get some type of service, whether it was retail, getting your hair cut, going to the car shop, getting something to eat,” Brown says. “We are a lover of people…so when you come to Detroit Soul, we take the customer experience the moment you enter the environment.”

Read more about the Fi2W Food Journalism Fellows.

Co-owner Jerome Brown taking an order


From left: Detroit Soul Owner Jerome Brown, Fi2W fellow Brittany Hutson, employees Doreen Van Buren, Valerie Collins

Support for the fellowship comes from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) and through matching gifts from station donors, The International Association of Culinary Professionals’ foundation, The Culinary Trust, and its Growing Leaders Food Writing program. The Food Writing Program is funded with the support of the Boston Foundation.

Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation, the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation, The Ford Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The J.M. Kaplan Fund, an anonymous donor and readers like you.

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AboutBrittany Hutson
Brittany Hutson is a Feet in 2 Worlds Food Journalism Fellow at WDET.