Soul Wingza black-owned soul food takeout place, it has operated near Howard University since April 2022. Owners Antonio Holmón Y Menyana Williams began the concept in 2008, operating as an area-wide pop-up restaurant before purchasing a food truck in 2016. The D.C. natives won a lot of business after regularly visiting the Howard campus, eventually deciding to make the corner of Harvard Street and Georgia. Avenue NW, the home of his first store. They plan to open a second location in Pentagon City Mall in early 2023.
The restaurant plays old-school R&B music, which can be heard when walking nearby (and might attract potential customers). The interior walls are red with black trim and a handful of bar chairs for dining near the front window with flashing lights. A display fridge by the counter stocks desserts and bottled drinks. There are large laminated menus on the counter for customers to order at the register, and an open kitchen is visible behind the cashier.
At first, the music drew me into the restaurant, but the smell of fried chicken made me stay longer. It’s not that “fast food fried chicken” smell either, I’m talking good, homemade. The sounds and smells reminded me of stopping by a family member’s house for dinner on vacation. Customers were coming in and out of the restaurant, having lively conversations with the owners and me, and engaging with the food. From those signs, I knew I was getting a home cooked meal.
Soul Wingz obviously serves up more than just tasty chicken. Think of one of your favorite soul foods, and chances are they have it. The menu is divided between breakfast, “lunch”, “wingz”, “saladz”, “sandwichez”, “drinkz” and “sweetz”. Apart from their desserts, everything is prepared at home and cooked at the moment. They also do not use salt or pepper on any of their dishes. “”The nurse who took care of my mother before she passed away mentioned that salt and sugar are the root of most of our illnesses,” says Williams. She kept that same mindset with the Soul Wingz concept.
Soul Wingz best sellers are, you guessed it, their chicken wings! One customer mentioned that they were the best he had ever had. Choose from thirteen flavors, or mix and match two flavors per order. Available whole or in party portions, the wings are marinated in their signature Soul Seasoning, then seared and tossed with your choice of sauce. They are served in orders of eight, 12 or 16 pieces, a la carte or as a combo with sides and a drink. I tried the most popular flavors (mumbo, jerk, spicy, and soul) and got four of each. The wings are nice and spicy but not choked. Each of the sauces is made from scratch. I love the mumbo flavor, that one deserves to be put on the shelves.
The signature soul wings were my favorite. It is the only wing option that is lightly mixed with seasoned flour, pan-fried, and served without sauce. The chicken was so juicy in the middle, crispy skin, perfectly seasoned, and not a lot of fat. I tried a bite with some mumbo sauce on it, which was unnecessary. That wing was beautiful on its own. So good, in fact, that while I tried one at the restaurant, with plans to eat the rest later, the soul wings didn’t make it home. I ate them in my car.
Soul Wingz sells breakfast all day. Choose from one of their omelets, sandwiches, French toast, pancakes, waffles, or breakfast platters. I chose the latter, which comes with a side of toast, two eggs cooked your way, and home fries. The shrimp and grits dish called my name. “I guarantee we make the best shrimp and grits in town!” Holmon says. This may be debatable, because I haven’t come across a bad batch of them, but yours is pretty good. The cooks pan-fry the shrimp on the flattop grill with lots of caramelized onions, place them on a big bed of buttered Colby Jack grits, and then sprinkle them with more cheese. This dish reminded me of a homemade Sunday breakfast.
Don’t sleep on their snacks! Soul Wingz has a steak and chicken sub that looked like it weighed about three pounds. I highly recommend sharing this with someone unless he plans to nap afterwards. Tender pieces of diced chicken breast and steak are pan-seared with caramelized onions and topped with lots of Colby Jack. A seven-inch sub roll is lightly toasted and brushed with mayonnaise before stuffing it with some shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and all that meat. Three words for this one: strong, juicy, delicious.
If you still haven’t passed out after eating here, wash it down with their signature drinks. There are eight flavors to choose from, including the popular Soul Mix. It’s his version of an Arnold Palmer, known as half and half in DC culture, that has a hint of lime. If you’re not a tea drinker, there are sweet and fruity versions of their Soul Mix, with lemonade and the flavor of your choice. Fruit Punch Lemonade tastes like a drinkable version of Bomb Pop Popsicles.
A rotation of individual servings of seasonal pie, pie and cobbler flavors, prepared at a local baker, are always available. I am a fan of lemon desserts, and the lemon cake slice with a light glaze pleased me. It was soft as a pillow, and not sour that you pursed your lips.
If you’re in the mood for a simple, yet very good home-cooked meal, Soul Wingz will take care of that craving. But please don’t plan to be productive after eating here.
Soul Wingz is located at 2851 Georgia Avenue NW. Office hours are Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight. Order in person and online for pickup or delivery. Prices range from $4 to $20.