At The Coast Café, keeping soul food alive is done by serving "the best fried chicken and mac and cheese in New England." The Cambridge, MA restaurant is open for lunch and dinner four days a week and stays true to two soul food traditions: allowing guests to choose their own sides and offering a casual environment with friendly service.
The restaurant's website says, "The Coast Café is a healthier, more progressive version of traditional southern soul food, but doesn't sacrifice what people love."
"The Coast Café serves America's preeminent cuisine: soul food," owner Anthony Brooks says. "From fried chicken to mac and cheese to sweet potato pie, you can find it all at our restaurant. In fact, our menu extends beyond the umbrella of traditional soul food with Caribbean delicacies like jerk chicken and fried plantains. This, along with preparing every meal fresh, makes our restaurant unique."
The restaurant sells an assortment of chicken boxes, with the customer's choice of chicken fingers, wings, coast wings or 3-piece chicken in a box. Guests can opt for fried chicken, or flavors that range from hot, jerk or barbecue.
They also have a menu of Coast specialties, including coast fried chicken and waffles, a popular combination served with a side of syrup; fish-n-chips with battered haddock or catfish served with fries or onion rings; two smothered pork chops with sautéed onions and homemade gravy, served with string beans, mashed potatoes and cornbread; and two types of barbecue ribs- pork and beef short ribs.
The menu also includes a variety of sandwiches, all served on brioche rolls with fries or onion rings on the side. There's a selection of plates that include a main protein of the customer's choice, cornbread and two additional sides. Side options follow traditional southern comfort foods: cole slaw, string beans, potato salad, collard greens with smoked turkey, candied yams, rice and beans, black eyed peas, french fries, onion rings and fried plantains.
To follow suit with the menu, Brooks describes the restaurant's décor as "jazzy, with the feel of being at home." That feeling of being at home is key to the soul food tradition, with The Coast Café reminding guests of why it is considered food from the soul. Brooks and his sister with the help of their father opened the restaurant in 1997.
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