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Young Black pilot opens dream restaurant during pandemic

House of Soul Cafe has been doing non-stop business since opening on South East Street on the south side of Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS — Despite the pandemic, it's been non-stop business for a new restaurant on the south side of Indianapolis.

The owner and head cook of the House of Soul Cafe talked to 13News about their good food and how since opening day, business at the restaurant has been better than good.

What appears as another south side gas station is so much more. Once inside, the aroma lets you know there is some serious cooking going on behind the counter. 

Since opening day on Feb. 5, David Brown and his staff have seen little downtime.

Brown is the head cook at the restaurant at 4225 S. East St. The menu brags about their southern cuisine and "Grandma's Savor with a Modern Twist."

"We wanted to make it fast food, but still bring the history of our roots of southern cuisine and make it a primary brand," said Brown. 

Customers like Johnetta Thompson and Vickie Bradley work nearby. They have been watching and waiting for a chance to dine. Brown gave them a taste test while taking their lunch order Wednesday afternoon. The taste test made waiting for opening week well worth it. 

"The smoked turkey, because that is what I cook with is smoked turkey, you can taste it. The greens were seasoned just right. The cornbread, my God," said Bradley, "can I just say that and be done?"  

"The cornbread, you know how sometimes they say it makes you want slap your momma? It does. It is worth the trip, I don't care what side of town you live on," Thompson said.

Credit: WTHR

The man behind the restaurant venture is usually behind the controls of an airplane. Commercial airline pilot Adam Belt has always had high hopes of opening a restaurant. He kept quiet during the planning phase of the restaurant and only shared the plans with close family members. 

"I am always cooking at home, cooking soul food, catfish, pork chops, black-eyed peas, and if I wasn't a pilot, I would have gone to culinary school to be a chef somewhere," he said.

If the first week at the House of Soul Cafe is any indication of the future, the sky's the limit for the pilot-turned-restaurant owner. Belt has big dreams for his culinary skills. 

"One of my dreams, I am from Arizona, I want to get a location in Phoenix, Arizona, also," he said.

Credit: WTHR

Brown encourages young people to pursue their dreams of owning and running their own business. They realize several restaurants have not survived the pandemic, but knew their south side location for soul food and a great menu would help them turn a good product. 

"Pursuing your dream is hard, but keep on fighting and take every day as a new day to reach your opportunities," Brown said.

House of Soul Cafe is open Tuesday through Saturday right now, during lunch and dinner hours. They will eventually decide if those hours will expand, based on customer demand.

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