The trek to Riverdale mimics a mini road trip, as land beyond 95th Street becomes sprawled and billboards promoting unfamiliar businesses tower over lush trees and green fields. U’leez Soul Restaurant, this suburb's premiere soul food joint in the west wing of Eve's Lounge
, makes the venture worthwhile.
Cooking enthusiasts (and cousins alike) Alesia C. Owens and Zipporah L. Weatherall shared the dream of one day running a soul food restaurant using their grandmother Ubie Owens' secret recipes. The space inside Eve's fell onto their laps, and since, they've been bringing recipes from their family to yours, as the eatery's tagline suggests.
At first glance, U'leez appears another available mingling section for Eve's patrons opting for a lil' legroom from the activity of the preceding five rooms. Track lights zip around, as urban tunes play overhead. Metallic tiles balance intimate, candlelit tables dropped before maroon microfiber couches lining the walls. These walls' woodsy accents include black leafless trees stacked against an autumn red-evening sky sprinkled with glittery gems for stars.
Once you've popped the last of your catfish nuggets, a flat screen at back, tuned to the game, canoodles you over like a moth to light. A small bar conveniently sits aside this reserve and out of it come generous 2-ounce-pour cocktails, half off on Tuesdays. Otherwise, $8 gets you a top-shelf concoction.
Having already served the mayor of Riverdale, and because Eve's Lounge is such a focal point in the community, the establishment seldom sees a slow moment. On our visit, the family affair made magic, pleasing all four parties that took place. With a tummy full of perch, mostaccioli, fresh greens, potato salad and red beans and rice, there's no question you'll leave U'leez happy. Italian beefs, pizza puffs and Chicago style hot dogs also sell.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez