Michael's Soul Kitchen to close this weekend
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Kelly Wilkinson, Indianapolis Star
Michael's Soul Kitchen, the swanky downtown Indy soul food restaurant and jazz lounge, is closing permanently this weekend.
The restaurant, at 115 E. Ohio St., opted to not renew its lease and has been renting month-to-month since its building's owner sought a buyer, said Michael's owner Connie Oates-Allen.
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Michael's opened in late 2018 and in 2019 introduced a menu of classic southern and creole cuisines, including fried and barbecue chicken, macaroni and cheese, gumbo and shrimp étouffée. Its soul food buffet took off in a setting of red, brass and cherry wood decor, cushy couches and a grand piano with live musical performances.
Since the pandemic, it has operated with a model of private events and pre-paid admissions.
The concept, though, will live on at another venue operated by Oates-Allen and business partner Romeo Gerson.
The Michael's menu will transfer to Miami's Garden, a tropical-themed event space and restaurant Gerson opened at 7102 Woodland Dr. in January, serving craft cocktails and hosting live entertainment.
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Oates-Allen is partnering on the venture — the pair had been partners at Michael's — bringing Michael's Soul Food to diners Sunday through Tuesday; and a Fusion Soul menu of foods from the African diaspora Wednesday through Saturday. Like at Michael's, Miami's Garden has live entertainment on weekends.
"I'm going to miss my room. My room was a beautiful room. I will miss the class and the luxury of my room," Oates-Allen said. "But I have to change with the times and change with situations. And the thing is to come out strong."
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The new menu, featuring Michael's soul food buffet on Sundays, will start in August.
Michael's Soul Kitchen will be open to the public from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. July 29 and July 30 with its signature soul food buffet, and will have a private gathering on July 31.
For reservations at Michael's Soul Kitchen, call 317-855-6161.
Contact IndyStar reporter Cheryl V. Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-444-6264. Follow her on Twitter: @cherylvjackson.