WINDCREST - If necessity is the mother of invention, then Lynne Allen has birthed a big soul food baby on San Antonio's northeast side.
The 55-year-old came to the Alamo City to visit a friend during New Year's holiday a couple of years ago. She wanted soul food but nothing was open on New Year's Day.
"And, I got angry," Allen said. "There's got to be something [open]."
Allen decided to remedy the situation by opening her own soul food place in San Antonio.
Almost two years ago she opened the doors of Southern Girls Food and Music For Your Soul, just call it Southern Girls if it makes it easier.
"We're girls. It's in the South. So, it just kind of came together in my sleep," She said of the business' name.
Plus, the mother of the Shreveport, Louisiana native thought the name was nice.
Allen co-founded the restaurant at 6060 Montgomery Drive. She used her background in the nightclub industry to engineer a place with a hefty menu coupled with southern blues acts that perform nearly every week.
Her main goal was to ensure customers have three strong takeaways from her soul food joint.
"The food was good and they are absolutely full," she said. "And, they have a takeout box."
Allen said she learned how to cook in Northern Louisiana watching her mother-in-law whip up memorable meals. She retained what she saw and tweaked it. The result has been rewarding.
"I have customers come and [the food] literally brings tears to their eyes because they say it taste like their grandmother's food," Allen said. “I have several customers who say it takes them back to when their mom cooked."
The menu at Southern Girls boasts around 30 different meat.
"We have ox tails, that's our bestseller, and smothered pork chops is our next biggest seller," Allen said. "We have smothered and roasted turkey wings. We do turkey necks, pig feet, ham hocks, neck bones, smothered steak, fried fish, gumbo, chitterlings."
This sounds like the making of a Neighborhood Eats taste test. We started with her three cheese mac-and-cheese. Que Rico!
The meatloaf in this place has a warrant out for its arrest. It's a crime to be this tasty!
Neighborhood Eats also enjoyed the whole kernel corn with its spicy kick of seasoning. The candied yams weren't overdone with a syrupy sweet coating.
The smothered pork chop is what one would expect a soul food chop swimming in home style gravy to be: good, seasoned but not drowning in sauce. Que Rico!
Amen from the Neighborhood Eats choir on the collard greens! This green is right where it needs to be for us. Oh, there's hot water cornbread made the old fashioned way. The kind that resembles a pancake. Great for a little dip of pot liquor.
Allen's fried chicken is good!
Finally, she slid in a bowl of peach cobbler after Neighborhood Eats washed down our samples with a very tall glass of Kool-Aid. The cobbler was right on time!
Neighborhood Eats can understand why customers walk out with to-go boxes with the sizable portions you get from the menu or the all-you-can-eat buffet all around $15.
"They're looking for bed. They are sleepy," she said of the customers who eat at Southern Girls.
If you have a suggestion for Marvin send an email (Mhurst@kens5.com), tweet (@Mhurstkens5) or post it to the KENS5 Facebook page. #KENS5EATS.