Forty Acres Soul Food Kitchen is heavenly and absolute perfection


American Authenticity. That simple slogan does not nearly do the restaurant Forty Acres Soul Food Kitchen justice. Every bite of goodness, deep fried or not, was an absolute delight and captured the essence of the southern U.S. perfectly and succinctly. In addition to paying homage to the South, they also added their own personal touch on soul food, making the food lighter and healthier.

With a bar setting, but familial feel to it, Forty Acres was an interesting surprise. As I entered the building, I found myself thinking that even if the food was sub-par, the incredible atmosphere and personable staff would make up for it. Hanging light fixtures cast a warm, orange glow over the restaurant as the outside light dimmed, setting the room at ease with the cozy feel of it. Minimalistically decorated, the restaurant exemplified a modest dining experience, although it was obvious that their dishes would be anything but modest.

Our waitress was all smiles and held great suggestions of what we should get, all of which were great. Once the drinks and appetizers were ordered, my party settled in, each of us drinking in the setting and happenings around us. For me, what caught and held my attention for the whole night was the music. An eclectic blend of Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Michael Jackson played over the speakers, a bold choice that worked flawlessly to accent the idea of “soul” food. Before the food had even arrived, I was in a phenomenal mood as I jammed to the songs that spoke to my soul. To my astonishment, I didn’t feel out of place in doing so. I had fallen in love with a restaurant that I’d only known for a few minutes, but I didn’t care. I was in heaven.

As our happy server returned armed with hush puppies, fried okra, waters, and sweet tea, she laughed at our greedy faces as we all salivated over the food. My grandma was the first to dig into the dishes, as she dove for the hush puppies, a cornmeal-based, deep-fried dough ball. “How is it?” I asked my grandma. With a triumphant look of complete contentment, she enthusiastically answered with a resounding “Yes!” When I tasted them, I had to agree. They were pure goodness, with a sweet and simple taste comparable to a light cornbread.

When we had ordered the fried okra, I honestly was terrified because okra seemed so foreign to me, but after seeing it in person, my fears fell away. It was right then that I realized that anything deep fried will always taste out-of-this-world. Biting into the okra was surprisingly not as heavy as I thought the very deep fried dish might be. The fresh crunch of vegetable contrasted the warm, crispy taste of the fried skin, making it both refreshing and “fatteningly” delicious.

The next course to come out was the entres, and that’s where it really got interesting. My dad, usually one for a vegetarian, healthy meal, ordered the Forty Acres Soul Platter. His dish put everyone else’s dish to shame, as it was a hearty serving of catfish, pork chops, fried chicken, mac and cheese, and turnip greens with a dainty slice of cornbread on the side. Being the generous man that he is, my dad offered me the first bites of his dish, and it was every bit as savory and good as it looked. Their fried chicken put every fast food restaurant that serves it to shame, KFC and Chick Fil A included, and their turnip greens were the best I’ve ever had. Forcing myself to tear my eyes and mouth away from my dad’s platter, I turned my attention to my own dish: the famous BYO Gumbo.

To call it “soup” would be sacrilegious because the dish spoke for itself simply with the glorious constitution of it. Microgreens were sprinkled atop the colorful dish, and in southern fashion, it was also accompanied by cornbread. Underneath the garnish was a medley of warm-colored vegetables in a curry broth. The gumbo held a light taste consisting of al dente grains, firm vegetables, a little spicy kick, and a rich curry broth. The vegetables gave a fresh taste and a soft crunch, and they were cooked and seasoned to be mildly sweet. Additionally, the taste enveloping every spoonful was the broth which soaked it all in vibrant flavor. My first spoonful was like nothing I’d ever had before or could’ve imagined, and I can certainly say that now, gumbo is one of my favorite foods.

The only complaint I could possibly have about Forty Acres was their prices, which were exceedingly steep; however, the prices were understandable considering how high the quality of food was. Everything about my experience was high quality, and I would definitely say that now, my happy place is situated along Wealthy Street in Eastown.

From humble roots and happy hearts, Forty Acres Soul Food Kitchen was such an extraordinary celebration of American culture that perfectly summed it up into a few mouthfuls and bites of deep fried goodness.