Waffles on a Soul Food Menu?
By: Lyn Sheppard
Culturally as a people, we think we know our soul food items, so when did waffles make its debut onto the soul food stage? At Aprons Authentic Southern Food Restaurant. waffles are front and center and their “Chicken and Waffles” are running neck and neck with the “Braised Beef Short Ribs” as the most popular items on the menu.
“The chicken and waffles come with three fried chicken wings and a choice of a red velvet or sweet potato waffle-- with the sweet potatoes blended right in the mix,” explained Melissa Jordan, the operator of the Aprons restaurant, a small colorful eatery which sits at the fork of the road between Washington and Grays Ferry Avenues in Philadelphia, with seating for 32.
The restaurant is owned by her parents, Mary and Leon Kelly, and has been in operation for approximately two years at the present location. “My mom is from Leland, Mississippi, and grew up cooking. She worked as a nurse, however, she would always cook for family functions and, one day, she just got the idea to open up a restaurant.”
Jordan continued, “People just kept asking for her cooking. She was catering before we had a restaurant. We would cook for events like weddings and birthday parties. It was about getting the space to cater on a larger scale.
“Nowadays, the meals are cooked to order; for breakfast, we have simple egg platters, omelets, pancakes, French toast, things like that. We also do chicken and waffles and fish and grits.”
Jordan said their customer numbers vary, “some days we’ll have 25 or so, some days there will be 60 or 70. During the weekends, we have larger groups, such as the church that hosts a Jazz Breakfast, for up to 50 people, every first Saturday.”
For others wanting to open their own business, she said, “You must take a chance, if it’s something that you love to do. However, you know it’s tough; it’s not all glitz and glamour. Running a business is like running a household ̶ just times ten. You have responsibilities and bills … but it’s worth it if you love what you do.”
If you’re ready to embrace your new waffle roots, check out the sweet potato waffle at Aprons. I did that, and it was awesome! I would publicly like to welcome the sweet potato waffle into the family.
Contact Information: 215-560-8837 and Grubhub, Text GH0269 to 24928 – Discount for first time callers.