Mz. Mississippi's Family Soul Food
The best things in life are worth working hard to get, but as you pull up to the tiny building with the boarded up windows nestled beside the towering apartment complexes, you may think, "Have I made a wrong turn, is this the right place?" At least that is what was running through my mind one late grey Thursday afternoon. I was on a quest for Soul Food, but not just any Soul Food; real Soul Food. The sticky, savory, messy, lip-smacking, down-home taste that makes you want seconds and even thirds. Being unfamiliar with the Euclid and Collinwood area in general, I had caught wind of the new restaurant at my job on East 185th street and decided to go see for myself.
The small brick building located at 19320 Roseland Avenue on the corner of Roseland and E.193rd St. has been known in the area as a Whitmore's for years. A large sign displayed across the front proclaims," Mz. Mississippi's Family Soul Food!" As I drive around the building to squeeze into the few spaces that serve as a parking area I find myself deciding that this culinary experience could go one of two ways. Either the food will be extraordinarily good, or extraordinarily bad. I get out and walk up the narrow cement path around to the front door, I already can smell some amazing aromas wafting from the restaurant and my mouth begins watering immediately. Good sign. I notice a message scrawled into the cement sidewalk, "God Loves You!" I look up and notice a few women leaving the building, they have huge plastic bags stuffed almost to bursting with styrofoam takeout containers....and big smiles on their faces. My feeling of trepidation turned into one of certainty, this was going to be good!
Immediately greeted by a friendly smile and warm attitude from behind the counter in the kitchen, I met Mz. Mississippi herself, Sherisha Robinson. A true Mississippi native, she has a definite passion for cooking. This is her first venture into the restaurant business and she is just bursting with pride over her new family run facility. "I learned how to cook from my grandmother and we make all of our recipes with love," she claims. She is certainly right! As I stare up at the hand written menu above the kitchen window, I can hardly wait to order. Tender barbeque pork shoulder and rib dinners with the meat melting in your mouth, succulent smothered pork chops with homemade gravy, juicy baked chicken with all the fixins and all of the delicious sides you could ever hope for when it comes to REAL Soul Food. Sweet, moist cornbread still warm from the oven, seasoned greens, candied sweet potatoes and the most delicious, gooey, cheesy macaroni and cheese. All of them 100% homemade, nothing canned and the prices are more than reasonable! Just $3.50 for the biggest ,most delicious Po' Boy I have ever eaten, piled high with golden fries, crunchy coleslaw and tangy barbeque sauce. Most dinner entrees include two sides and run an average of 6 to 8 dollars. My order of a barbeque shoulder and rib dinner with two sides each, cornbread, 2 extra sides of macaroni and cheese and 2 sodas came to $21.00! Mz. Mississippi's also boasts a large array of desserts, everything from homemade chocolate cake to sweet potato pie and apple-pear cobbler. This place is definitely a well kept secret in our community. Ms. Robinson's greatest wish for her new business is to find a bigger and better location where she can have tables and chairs for all of her beautiful guests to sit at while they enjoy her delicious southern cooking.
We should be very proud to have such a place available to us and I hope that everyone will take a few minutes out of their day to stop on by and welcome "Mz. Mississippi's Family Soul Food" into our neighborhood ...and when you come back, bring a friend or two. "Mz. Mississippi"s can be best summed up by the hand-written sign hanging on the back door, simply stating, " Please Use The Front door. God Loves You and So Do We!"