Dre Perrin and Tonza Houston
Dre’s family is originally from the south and he grew up eating soul food. He always had a deep love for soul food but felt the need to stop eating it after he watched his grandparent’s health deteriorate. His grandfather was from Whitmire, South Carolina and he ate soul food from the “traditional old south”. After years of unhealthy eating he suffered from two heart attacks and eventually had to have triple bypass surgery. As time went on Dre yearned for the taste of soul food without preservatives and unhealthy ingredients. Dre expressed his love for soul food and desire to eat healthier soul food to his childhood friend, Chef Carlos Swepson. Chef Carlos Swepson is a renowned chef and owner of Blvd Bistro on Frederick Douglas Blvd in Harlem.
He’s been featured on Good Day NY, (list other achievements). Chef Carlos explained to Dre different ways to achieve the authentic taste without all of the preservatives and unhealthy ingredients. After speaking with Chef Carlos, Dre was so excited he immediately called Tonza and said, “I have an awesome idea! We need to open a healthy, authentic soul food restaurant.” Tonza was ecstatic about the idea of opening a restaurant.
She developed a love for soul food at a very young age. Tonza is Caribbean and grew up eating primarily Caribbean food. She always dreamt about opening a soul food restaurant. She lived in West Orange, NJ for 13 years and struggled to find authentic soul food. Tonza immediately began looking around Montclair for the perfect location. Chef Carlos was also excited because he initially wanted to open a soul food restaurant in Montclair but instead decided to open his restaurant in Harlem. Dre and Tonza found their location on Bloomfield Ave and spent many hours crafting a soul food menu to hold true to their vision… Healthy, Transparent and Authentic.
Note from the Owners: “Thank you for being a part of this journey with us. Our dream and goal is to bring healthy, authentic soul food to the suburbs in a chic and inviting atmosphere” -Dre and Tonza.