Kenny McDuffie, a former contestant on “Hell’s Kitchen,” and his friend Richard Conklin, chef at Columbia’s Capital City Kitchen and Grill, are opening up a soul food restaurant in Columbia – Esther’s Soul Food + Kitchen.
Esther’s Soul Food + Kitchen is coming to the Village at Sandhills in Northeast Columbia. The restaurant was inspired by their grandmother and great-grandmother’s passion for cooking and is even named after McDuffie’s great grandmother.
The establishment, which is expected to open this summer, will feature both a restaurant and a coffee cafe. The restaurant will offer class soul food staples like fried turkey wings, mac and cheese, potato salad and even Philly cheesesteaks, while the cafe side will have a variety of baked goods available for purchase.
Family is the center of Esther’s Soul Food + Kitchen and both Conklin and McDuffie are eager to share their skills with the community. Conklin said “(After) losing my grandmother to COVID last year, this is one of my main reasons to pay homage to her as well…The both of us want people that come in here to experience the recipes and the stories from my grandmother’s kitchens.”