Carolyn’s Soul Food: Home-Style Cooking in Jersey City

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In today’s food scene, “soul food” can be a broad term. There are sleeker restaurants that have elevated soul food to haute cuisine, and chic ones that fuse southern traditions with elements of international food. We love them, for sure, but from time to time we still have the craving for the old-school, no-frills soul food. The experience is a whole package. 

The menu draws from a steady repertoire of southern cooking, which gives eaters a sense of comfort knowing what they are going to get. For takeaways, or sometimes dine-in even, the food comes in three-compartment boxes, one for the main dish, two for very hearty sides. And there’s often a host who seems to know every other customer coming in. In Jersey City, eaters craving for this kind of simple, soul-warming experience can find it at Carolyn’s Soul Food located at 76 Orient Avenue.

The Story

carolyn soul food

The restaurant, run by a mother-son team, has been serving the West Bergen Neighborhood since 2008, when Carolyn Fraizier, the chef and mastermind behind the restaurant’s hearty, home-style food, decided to pour her life-long passion for cooking and serving into this small business endeavor.

Her son, Cornelius Fraizier who has studied business administration, according to his LinkedIn profile, runs the business side of the restaurant. The style, from ingredients, menu, to restaurant decor and food presentation, is down-to-earth. The idea is to deliver simple, good, down-home southern cooking to the local community.

The Food

carolyns soul food jersey city

It’s the most fun to order for a family, pool together the orders, and try a little bit of everything. The first order should be the restaurant’s famous sticky wings, smothered in a richly-flavored gravy and braised until the seasonings are well integrated.

Read More: Los Tres Chilitos: Delicious Oaxacan Mexcian Cuisine in Jersey City Heights

carolyns soul food

{Photo credit: @carolynssoulfood}

Then fill a second order with pork chops, lightly breaded with a sweet and peppery sauce, with a side of fried chicken. The chicken is crunchy even after a cross-town trip in a delivery case, and the meat inside is moist and flavored through and through. 

The main orders come with two sides. Tender, almost creamy collard greens, silky and smooth candy yam coated in shiny shellac of syrup, and thoroughly cooked cabbage,  are all excellent.

Better still is the broiled mac and cheese, a heavenly mix of rich, cheesy baked macaroni.  

carolyns soul food

{Photo credit: @carolynssoulfood}

Before you leave, be sure to try the banana pudding — it’s delicious.

A Community Impact

carolyns soul food

{Photo credit: @carolynssoulfood}

With its simple but heart-warming food, Carolyn’s Soul Food has become a hotspot for neighborhood gatherings. It has held annual community Christmas dinners, hosted local artists, and participated in various food drives and charity give outs.

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Thanks to the restaurant’s popularity, Carolyn and Cornelius have been able to extend its outreach and impact beyond food and service. Cornelius has been an advocate for high-quality education for local youth, having co-founded a non-profit that mentors local middle school students and helps them develop essential business skills. The real deal — for both the stomach and the soul.

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Yiwei was born and raised in China. She has lived extensively in Beijing and Hong Kong, before finally settling down in New York. She moved to Hoboken after a few years in Westchester and immediately felt at home here. Two years ago, she left her job at an investment bank to travel the world and explore her interests, and has since then taken on a few freelancing gigs in career coaching, college admission consulting, and writing. When she is not wandering wildly in the streets of Europe, Asia, or Latin America, she can be found sipping an espresso in one of Hoboken's coffee shops or trying out restaurants in Hoboken and Jersey City area.