SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ —  Scotch Plains has added a little bit of soul to its downtown as Mayor Al Smith officially welcomed the township's newest eatery, The Family Soul Spot, on Friday.

Owner Sandra Williamson came up with the idea for opening the restaurant after losing her job as a legal assistant during the recession in 2009.

"I got fired and went home crying. I didn't know what I would do next," Williamson said. "I knew how to cook. Someone passed by while I was making some ribs and asked 'Are you selling that?' I said, 'yes' and then I asked my kids if I should go for it."

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A man helped her by letting her cook in a restaurant on Seventh Street in Plainfield. The food received good word-of-mouth and "they never stopped coming in."

"I always dreamt of doing this, but wouldn't have until I lost my job," the owner said. "When a window closed, a door opened."

The lunch menu offers fish and chips (hand-breaded golden fried whiting) with homemade tartar sauce, smoked pulled pork sandwich, Southern crispy fried wings, Soul Spot tenders tossed in any signature sauce, garden salad and soup of the day. All lunch items are are between $4 and $8. The children's menu includes hot dogs, grilled cheese, fish sticks and chicken tenders. 

Dinner entrees, which come with two sides and corn bread, include hickory-smoked ribs, hand-breaded fried jumbo shrimp, smothered pork chops, and crispy Southern style fried chicken. All entrees are $16 or less. Sides include baked macaroni and cheese, collard greens, cabbage, candied yams, potato salad, string beans, white rice and lima beans. 

"It is great to add The Family Soul Spot to the Scotch Plains family of businesses," said Scotch Plains Mayor Al Smith. "Sandra and her family are offering a combination of really good soul food at reasonable prices. With plenty of free parking in the municipal parking lots off Park and Westfield Avenues, it a natural place to relax and have a good meal on premise or take it home."

What diners can expect at The Family Soul Spot is great food that comes with TLC.

"The food here is fresh, delicious, and made with a lot of love," explained Williamson, who has been cooking since she was a child. "I make sauces from scratch and use lots of different ingredients. I'm like a mixologist with a potion, but only with food."

The Family Soul Spot
503 Park Ave.
Scotch Plains, NJ 07076
(908) 322-2079
info@thefamilysoulspot.com
Thursday: 12:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 12:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Sunday: 12:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Closed Monday - Wednesday