Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack, open since May 2001 and, until recently, the only soul food restaurant in England (if we’re wrong about that, let us know. The more the merrier, we say!) Our aim is to feed you up and send you out with a smile on your face. Or, to put it another way :

You might come in skinny – but you ain’t going out that way!
Well to begin with, soul food comes from within. It is a particular style of cooking, which gains its roots from the deep American South when Black folks were enslaved. Given the ‘left over scraps’ the slaves didn’t complain about what they got they just got on with cookin’ up some of the tastiest food in giant seasoned cast iron pots. Traditionally their rations consisted of corn, bacon or salt pork, molasses, flour, seasonal fruits and vegetables. With these few items a variety of wholesome dishes were created. Black people learnt how to use everything, nothing was wasted. If the master ate the leg of pork, the slaves enjoyed a succulent pig’s foot, and the delicious innards of the pig, the intestines, commonly known as chit’lin’s (my favourite). These dishes along with many others were passed down from generation to generation as well as the sheer pride in knowing how to live off the land and the ability to hunt. Slaves weren’t allowed to bear arms, so they developed their skills to hunt. If it moved they caught it. Squirrels, racoons, rabbits, and an assortment of wild birds, chickens, turkeys, ground hogs, and even the occasional bear. They would plant the fields with whatever seeds were made available to them. They learnt how to use what many people would regard as weeds, using the tops from many root vegetables.
Now while all this creative cooking was happening, there was an awful lot of singing and dancing going on. Mostly spiritual singing from the soul, asking the Lord to set them free and give them the strength to endure their entrapment. Although most of the music was gospel there was also a lot of jiggin’ going on with a jazzy and blues feeling to their songs. As the years went by this blues sound was evolved into what we now call soul music. Music sung from the soul to accompany our food…Soul Food


A brief history

Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack opened its doors on May 28, 2001, Bank Holiday Monday at 3pm. The paint was still fresh – wet in some areas – and the tables newly varnished. All the staff were running around wildly, trying to finish hanging the pictures and placing the menus on the tables. To our amazement, since we had yet to do any pre-advertising, there was a queue of hungry holidaymakers anxious to try our "new and exciting authentic American soul food".
If truth were told, we were not ready for what happened next. The place filled up with hungry customers, mostly kids wanting burgers and chips, adults not sure what they wanted and my waiting staff, too inexperienced to deal with the pressure. We had prepared far too much food of which a quarter ended in the bin. After managing to feed the crowd, we decided to close the restaurant and take stock of what had happened. Back to the drawing board!
We decided that what we needed was an experienced waitress to manage the floor so we contacted Charita’s daughter, Katryna, to come and rescue the floor. A chip off her mother’s block, she zoomed into the Shack filled with ideas and, most importantly, a reserve of explosive energy. We were now on track to set Brighton alight. My kitchen was organised and so was the floor. We recruited our good friend to help my husband with the running of the office. My husband, a full time academic librarian, was in charge of the VAT and books, Sarah in charge of the wages and I took on the advertising, the overall design of the menu and the day to day issues. We hired a chef and felt we were now ready to take on the world.
We have had some terrific reviews. In Jan. 2002, after only six months trading we received a review in The Times, rating us 8/10. Not bad for a new place. Since then we’ve had raves in local monthly The Insight, the Itchy Guide to Brighton and The Observer’s Naked Guide to Brighton, to name but three. We’ve also had some great online reviews, from satisfied customers (examples). And we’ve fed the stars! Soul star P.P. Arnold, an old friend of Momma Cherri, has been in many times, as has Antonio Fargas, better known as Huggy Bear from Starsky and Hutch. Not so long ago we were chuffed to be able to feed Leee John, the real star of Reborn in the USA, who came in with legendary New York producer, Arthur Baker. Arthur told us about his new venture – a soul food restaurant in Notting Hill, called Harlem, opening very soon. Open already is Ashbell’s, in All Saints Road, Notting Hill, owned and run by Ashbell McElveen.
We are open six evenings a week, the odd night out being Wednesday. We’re also open all day Saturday and Sunday, when we offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, with an extra special Sunday brunch menu.
Yup, soul food is on the increase. Check out the new television campaign of KFC, who now refer to their food as "soul food". So, KFC is soul food? Yeah, and I’m James Brown. Ow
Opening Hours

Mon, Tues, Thurs 6 - 11 pm

Friday 6pm - 12 midnight

Saturday 11 am - 12 midnight

Sunday 10.30 am - 8 pm

(Booking at weekends recommended)

Last orders one hour before closing



11 Little East Street

(Off Bartholomews)

Brighton BN1 1HT
Opening Hours

Mon, Tues, Thurs 6 - 11 pm

Friday 6pm - 12 midnight

5pm - 12 midnight

12 midday - 4pm

(Booking at weekends recommended)

Last orders one hour before closing
Phone : 01273 774545
Fax : 01273 272288

Please Note We are not currently able to take online bookings but you can book by phone, fax or email (if you do book by email your booking is only valid if you have received confirmation from us)

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Soul Food Shack

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