I've had my eye on The Soul House Bistro in Star City for quite some time. It was originally supposed to open up back in April, but like many restaurants, that date got pushed back. They just opened recently, and I went to check it out at the beginning of the week.
The restaurant is located at 3329 University Avenue across from the gas station, and there is plenty of parking along the side. When we walked in, we instantly saw a sign that said "cash only." If you know me, you know that means I'm out of luck. However, we wanted to try this restaurant so bad, we went back across town to an ATM to get cash to eat here. I think this is temporary (hope) because it is so new.
When we walked in, we weren't quite sure what exactly to do. There were a couple of tables that were arranged pretty close together and the front had two buffet-style islands. We took a seat and discovered the menus on the table. Essentially, you get one main meat dish and two side items. As I perused the options: BBQ ribs, pork chops, meatloaf, fried fish. Really, I wanted to try everything. But the meatloaf was jumping out to be. For the sides, I opted for mac & cheese and candy yams. All the dinners also come with a side of corn bread/biscuit. When I was done ordering, I sat down and waited for them to prepare the dish.
It's cafeteria-style. You can see all the food right there, but the workers behind the counter get it prepped for you and bring it to your table. It's fairly tight inside - I assume they're going to have to take out some tables at some point. There were a lot of two-person tables, and I'd much prefer a couple more larger tables. The walls are covered in famous African-American politicians, artists and athletes. They even have two small TVs on either wall that we have the option to change channels.
I can safely say when my plate came out, I think it was probably the biggest portion of food for the price anywhere in Morgantown ($8.99). The mac & cheese is homemade, so you get those small chunks of cheese and the ooey gooey creaminess. The candy yams were sweet and comforting, and the meatloaf was perfection. The two sides were overflowing portions, while the meat was smaller. But with that said, I still got two good size hunks of meatloaf. It was seasoned to perfection and the sauce on top had a slight sweet taste to it.
I was crazy about this entire meal. It's the best I've had in Morgantown or anywhere in a long, long time. I loved it so much I tried to eat the entire thing. I couldn't. Both of my friends got to-go boxes. Quiet frankly, I felt like rolling over and dying after stuffing myself, but my tastebuds were happy.
I think this restaurant fills a void in our community. That southern, down-home soul food is nowhere to be found. And for many of us, it reminds us of homecooking as children. I love this cuisine - heavy, sweet/salty and comforting. It's clear they put some time and energy into this food. It's not just a restaurant to make money; They're giving a part of themselves to us all.