By Kia O. Moore
Laurene’s Cafeteria has been open for just over a week and has been servicing a steady flow of people solely based on word of mouth. The newly reopened West End soul food restaurant is keeping the legacy of the southern cafeteria alive and well on the west side of town. They have set up shop in the old McDonald’s Cafeteria located just off Beatties Ford Road. They have opened their doors and are welcoming the community to come in and get a taste of scratch-made southern cuisine on a daily basis.
General Manager Tao Sauls explains that this is the second time around that Laurene’s Cafeteria has opened its doors. “We were at this location about 6 years ago, but the company was growing so fast we had to change plans and focus on other parts of the business.” Perkins Management Services, the company that owns Laurene’s, felt now was the time to bring back the cafeteria concept to the west side. Just based on the foot traffic of the first week, it seems West End residents agree that the area was ready to have a restaurant in this style back on the block.
Laurene’s Cafeteria is a tribute to the grandmother of the owner. Nicholas Perkins’ grandmother helped him fall in love with the world of culinary arts and serving the community. Like his grandmother, the food at Laurene’s is made from scratch. Sauls and crew bring the scratch-made menu to the masses all week long from Monday through Sunday. The menu is over 60 items made from fresh produce and fresh ingredients.
They provide an array of meats including turkey wings, beef brisket, fried chicken, beef ribs, turkey meatloaf, pulled pork, oxtails, chitlins, and more. They have a long list of sides to explore to pair with your meat selection including candied yams, mac n’ cheese, collard greens, fried okra, and so much more. They also cater to the seafood lover with flounder, crocker, catfish, snapper, creole stuffed salmon, seafood gumbos, seafood country broils and more. For those with a sweet tooth that won’t quit, they have you covered with a variety of cobblers, banana pudding, plus a mix of pound and frosted cakes. They even make their drinks from scratch. They have offerings like peach punch, mango punch, peach tea, homemade Arnold Palmer, strawberry lemonade, and more.
The menu has a range of prices that can accommodate many hungry customers according to Sauls. Your meal can start at $11.99 for your choice of meat, two sides, bread and a drink. But, if you are looking to feed a family of five you can do the $59.99 Bulk Family Combo Meal. However, for the owners of Laurene’s Cafeteria it is not just about providing great food, it is also about providing a great service, a welcoming atmosphere, and jobs for community members.
Everybody employed at Laurene’s is from the community. Most workers live off of Beatties Ford Road. They are still hiring and looking to keep it within the community. They want to do their part and offer jobs and help uplift the community. Perkins Management Services also contributes to charity organizations like Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and volunteer at Hope Haven annually. They also give back to Johnson C. Smith University and Livingstone College.
Laurene’s is setting up shop in the Historic West End to provide down home soul food meals to the community. They are also sowing into the area by providing jobs and sponsoring works and organizations focused on uplifting the community. To allow your taste buds to experience what Laurene’s Cafeteria has to offer, stop by 1821 Bishop Madison Ln. Monday through Sunday. See hours of operation and the robust menu on the website at www.laurenescafeteria.com.