sip it with a straw because dipping in the ribs just takes too long...
Chez Soul is family owned and family run. Everyone is either kin to each other or, hmmm...no....everyone is part of the family! It's with this kind of love and long held family recipes that make Chez Soul a must stop while you're visiting Vineyard RV Park...or in the Fairfield area passing through.
While Vacaville is filled with all kinds of chain and tourist restaurants, this place is truly unique and worth the little extra drive. Our daughter, Honey, gave us a gift certificate for restaurants.com for Christmas and we went to the website to see what restaurants participated in our area. It's there Hamilton discovered Chez Soul and gave them a call. Kevin answered the phone and his friendliness made us feel welcome so we headed on over. (See the video below soon!)
We were welcomed warmly by Shantel (The youngest of the family's 30 grandchildren, we found out later ) and she showed us to our table. Courtney was our waitress and she took very good care of us. She kept us laughing and wanted us to eat up.
Hamilton had fried chicken, fried okra and rice with gravy along with cornbread. Ham hasn't had a smile on his face that big in a while...he's an Oklahoma boy, what can you say? The chicken was perfectly seasoned and juicy on the inside. It's his favorite...second to mine...lol...or so he says....
I had some incredible baby back ribs and for my two sides, I chose mac and cheese and green beans and hush puppies. Now don't go conjuring up pictures in your head about those weak baby backs you get at some name restaurants. These ribs are thick! I took a whole big bite and didn't even touch the bone yet. Topped with Sampson's secret BBQ sauce, it was enough to make your eyes roll back in your head. Tender, delicious, fall off the bone. Need I say more?
Even with all that food, if you know me, you know that there's always room for dessert. Chez Soul has an entire showcase full of beautiful layer cakes, cheese cakes, sweet potato pie, peach cobbler and banana puddings. I got what they called "Hummingbird" cake. It's a kind of spice cake with raisins, banana and coconut. With a cream cheese frosting and some toasted coconut on the top...wow...it was soooo delish. We both had a bottomless soda with our meal and coffee and the total check for the two of us? $33 dollars!
We got half the food the other night, not nearly as good, at a trendy restaurant and spent three times as much. Never again!
Chez Soul also offers other wonderful dishes like Crawfish Etouffee, Shrimp Creole, Cajun Jambalaya, catfish, turkey wings, Cajun country oxtails, turkey meatloaf and brisket just to name a few. There's a whole page of what they call "Side Kicks"...including collard greens, candied yams, black-eyed peas, potato salad, mac and cheese and more.
Chez Soul started out in a small space and offered take out service only. Now, several years later, they have grown to a full service restaurant, but their take out service remains strong. Call ahead and have your order ready and waiting to go when you get there if you'd like.
Ham and I marveled at how the family all works together to provide and take care of each other. As the business has grown, the family has grown, the woman who makes the cakes has also seen her business grow. And so it goes with small businesses and that's how it's supposed to work. God bless them and keep the government out of their way...