Soul kitchen

Shaun Jenkins' new spot will offer just-like-home soul food on Market Street. Staff photo. Shaun Jenkins’ new spot will offer just-like-home soul food on Market Street. Staff photo.

How does a new restaurant get away with having just six items on the menu? By making all of them very, very well. What you’ll get at the Soul Food Joint is crispy-battered fried chicken, fall-off-the-bone ribs, tender-as-a-lullaby pulled pork, simmered-to-perfection collards, boy-oh-boy baked mac & cheese, and deviled eggs better than the ones your grandmother made.

In this case, owner Shaun Jenkins’ late grandmother, from Butler, Alabama, created the recipes. “Then she passed that special touch down to my mother, Helen Alexander, who showed me everything I know about comforting the soul through delicious foods,” Jenkins says.

He describes his little spot as “somewhere between a restaurant and a food truck,” and indeed, patrons may either sit inside or pick up their food at a window that opens onto the sidewalk. Sharing space with The Salad Maker at 300 Market St., The Soul Food Joint is open 11am to 3pm Wednesdays in June, after which the hours and the Friday and Saturday night menu (served until 3am!) will expand.

Booze news

In March, we reported that a distillery with the provisional name Vodka House would open in the former Clock Shop building at 201 W. Water St. We were right! Charlottesville’s Wilson Craig, a 2016 UVA grad, and his father, Hunter E. Craig—local bank executive, real estate mogul, and member of the UVA Board of Visitors—are looking at a July opening of Waterbird, a maker of “premium distilled spirits,” according to a sign outside the corner shop. Hunter Smith, of Champion Brewing Company, has signed on as a consultant. Wilson Craig says the distillery’s completion has been fast-tracked for July 1, with production beginning shortly thereafter. A source familiar with the project says Waterbird will produce canned beverages. “It’s going to be different than anything else in Charlottesville,” Craig says. “We’re excited.”

Now you’re cookin’!

After a gnocchi-making tutorial on June 9, Red Pump Kitchen’s summer Sunday cooking classes move on to pizza and cavatelli on July 12 and August 11, respectively. Newbies and serious foodies alike can sharpen their knife skills, knead to their hearts’ content, and learn how to make Tuscan-inspired sauces. See redpumpkitchen.com for details.