Soul Bowl’s success traces back to proof-of-concept pop-ups chef Gerard Klass and his wife Brittney hosted in North Minneapolis. Dubbed “Klassic Dishes with an Urban Twist,” the short-lived tasting menu used Gerard’s training at Minneapolis’ Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts as a jumping-off point to pair Latin, French, and Caribbean flavors with artful riffs on family recipes and comfort food.
Over time, requests for substitutions pushed them to pursue a fast-casual model of literal soul bowls, with enough vegan and vegetarian options to keep everyone happy.
Before launching Soul Bowl, Gerard interned at Wolfgang Puck’s 20.21 restaurant during its run at the Walker Art Center. He also spent a decade with Kaskaid Hospitality’s corporate catering, so it’s no surprise that these dishes are dialed-in. A perfect example: the sweet, smoky, and spicy F.U.B.U. Fried Chicken & Waffles sandwich, which goes to great lengths to land “the perfect bite of waffle, syrup, and chicken.” And then there are the bowls themselves, which set a high bar for everything from citrus-spiced candied yams to cheese-less mac and cheese.
After test runs at Breaking Bread Café and Target Field, Soul Bowl found its first permanent home at the North Loop’s new Graze food hall in September. While it doesn’t allow for live DJs (who enlivened Soul Bowl’s hip-hop and reggae-scored former residencies), Gerard says he “loves the competitive nature” of sharing a space with up-and-comers like Carbon Pit Beef, Flagsmash, and Fish Bowl Poké.
As for maintaining Soul Bowl’s laid-back, familial atmosphere, Gerard says, “We were blessed to have an amazing customer base from our first day. They brought the Soul Bowl vibe with them.”
520 Fourth St. N., Minneapolis