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KTNV 13 Action News

Las Vegas soul food: Rich in culture, history & tradition

By Shakeria Hawkins,


Soul food is so much more than tasty dishes. It's a cuisine extremely rich in culture, history, and tradition.

We stopped by one local soul food spot to explore the history behind this comfort food that was born out of struggle and survival.

Soul food is a tradition in many Black homes. At Family Soul Restaurant , owner Dan Chatman keeps that tradition going in the valley.

Chatman says soul food is cooked from the heart and he wants to share his family's delicious Southern recipes that were passed down to him.

"A man that dies with a recipe and doesn't share, was just a man that had a recipe," Chatman told us. "A man that passes on a recipe from generation to generation is a man that's creating a legacy."

While carrying on his mother's and grandmother's traditional dishes, he also likes to add to them.

"We have a dish called the soul food wrap. It's greens, yams, fish or chicken wrapped in a tortilla with our secret sauce on it. That was an original creation I had," Chatman said, "as well as a thing we have called the Soul Loco. It's a spin on Loco Moco, the Hawaiian dish. But instead of eggs, we use mac and cheese to make it more soulful."

And don't forget about the hot lemon pepper catfish. "That's one of our best sellers," Chatman said.

The Family Soul Restaurant started on wheels about 13 years ago. But as of the last two years, they've got a brick-and-mortar on Rainbow Boulevard and Smoke Ranch Road, serving customers cuisine that originated in the deep South and has African roots.

During the transatlantic slave trade, enslaved Black people were given parts of food and animals that were low in quality and nutritional value.

"It use to be considered some of the scraps," Chatman said.

But over time, these recipes evolved and became the soul food dishes we are familiar with today.

Customer Kathrine Duncan believes soul food is powerful.

"It connects us to our spirit. You know, to our ancestral spirit. When you're eating, you're eating all that came before us. That same taste connects us with the past," Duncan said.

Soul food Sundays are a heartwarming family union in Black American households. Chatman says without his family's support, none of this would be possible.

His nephew also works at the restaurant and says they appreciate how the rich tradition of soul food bought the family together.

"It's a family affair, every time," says Joe Glover.

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