PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. — It's 'Chicken and Waffle' day at Nadine's Kitchen in Port Townsend. Owner Grace Love is serving them to honor Black History Month:
"In the 20s, jazz musicians would throw rent parties for people who needed to pay rent. There would be food and music. Most of the musicians will get off at midnight or one, and they wanted something sweet and savory and there was a supper club in Harlem that was like OK let's just give you fried chicken and maybe a waffle!” she laughed, and explained that dish has many origin stories, but this one is her favorite, so she’s sticking to it.
Also, raising rent money resonates - Grace has experienced homelessness.
So she also cooks meals for people in need. Today, Kees and Helen Kolf arrive to pick up trays of risotto and chicken for a local winter shelter. The Quimper Universalist Unitarian Fellowship raised donations to buy the meals, then brought the business to Grace. The Kolfs call it a ‘win win’.
"We're all happy to support Grace – Nadine’s Kitchen - and at the same time provide awesome food for the people in the shelter,” said Kees.
On pop-up days, meal prices vary based on the cost of local ingredients. But Grace also makes sure anyone who needs a meal gets one.
"I know what it feels like to not have enough money for food and so if you do come to me you can do pay as you go or pay what you can. If you just say I'm hungry no questions asked I'm gonna feed you,” she said.
Grace runs this bi-weekly pop-up out of a communal kitchen located in an industrial park, making Southern soul food with Northwest-grown ingredients. It's named for her mom:
“When I named it Nadine's it was because my mom brought comfort.”
And there's a bit of her dad here too: A biscuit mix – Soul Drop Biscuits - made with grains grown at nearby Finn River Farm, that’s been flying off the shelves.
“I took one of my dad’s old-school drop biscuit recipes and we made a thing and now it's like popular and people like it I'm really excited,” she said.
Grace is also a singer: she’s performed all over the Northwest and has recorded an album. In fact, her five-year plan is to have a permanent space, a supper club where she can connect to people through food and music. She’s raising funds for it through Go Fund Me. And of course, by having pop-ups.
“We are so happy to have her in this community providing music and food with soul,” said Kees.
And as she works towards that dream one to-go order at a time, she also lives up to her awesome name because who couldn't use something delicious served with a side of grace, and love?
"I think people need to just take care of one another," she said.
The next pop-up is scheduled for March 8.
Nadine’s Kitchen | 887 East Park Avenue Port Townsend, WA 98368