Local black-owned restaurants slay with soul food


Photo by Isabella Ngwana

WCHS sophomore Blythe Cook enjoys a plate of fried fish with a side of collard greens for the first time as she appericiates soul food at Malia’s Kitchen located between Mcdonalds and Philly Cheesesteaks.

By Isabella Ngwana and Naomi Wright

Regardless of one’s ethnicity or socioeconomic status, if one had their ears plugged into the radio or MTV videos, around that time one of the most popular RnB songs that crossed over to pop culture galvanizing the dance floors at weddings, barbeques, bar mitzvahs, and especially within the black community was Montell Jordan’s hit song called  “This is How We do it.”  

In the black community across America, having family reunions during the summer and year-round is a reassuring feeling of belonging through food, family, and music. The new restaurant Malia’s Kitchen located in the Westfield Mall of Potomac, MD takes a shot at putting the “soul” in soul food. 

Malia’s Kitchen had its grand opening in Sept. 2022. The Westfield Montgomery Mall’s new soul food and seafood restaurant may be in its chrysalis stage, however, its burgeoning success traces back to its owners, Adonis and Katrina Adams, 25 years of catering and food truck industry experience. This family-owned restaurant is named after the couple’s daughter, Malia. Malia’s Kitchen replaced Lazaro’s Authentic Italian Deli and serves as the mall’s first soul food restaurant, ushering in a diversity of culinary dishes. 

The menu offers several soul food staples such as macaroni & cheese, fried chicken, or traditional style cornbread. Still, it goes beyond the traditional hallmark of what would be your regular comfort foods. The new soul food haven offers some unique options: fried lump crab cake combo for $22.00, and the crab mac and cheese combo at $18.00. 

The crab mac and cheese has a unique taste and sparks of Old Bay that are tantalizing to your palate. The crab mac and cheese is smothered with oozing cheddar cheese, giving customers a nostalgic taste of their grandma’s cooking. This item would have to be one of the best on the menu. WCHS sophomores Blythe Cook and Brooke Roberts were given the opportunity to try some of the menu items.

“I personally feel like the crab mac and cheese was better than most of the mac and cheese I’ve tried,” Cook said. 

The restaurant offers a variety of options for individuals with plant-based diets, pescetarian diets, or meat lovers. Malia’s Kitchen offers fried whittling fish that comes with a side of wheat or white bread. Though this option may not be their strongest dish on the menu, it is still worth trying. 

“I felt that the fish could’ve been prepared in a better fashion. It was cold when it arrived and had more breadcrumbs than seasoning.” Roberts said.

After grabbing a bite from Malia‘s Kitchen, customers can take a three-minute walk to the owner’s second location for something sweet: Adonni’s Desserts. Adonni’s Desserts, another black-owned business, offers a range of treats from cookie cups to fried Oreos.

“I was quite disappointed to find out I couldn’t try many of the menu options. But I was happy that I got to try the fudge cake, fried Oreos, and funnel fries. The funnel fries had a uniqueness to them that can’t be forgotten,” Roberts said.

A great thing to take away from an experience at a new restaurant is customer service. WCHS students should not feel uncomfortable or unwanted at a restaurant. Fortunately, owner Katrina Adams is often at the establishment to give customers a warm welcome at Adonni’s Desserts.

“The owner was very warm-hearted towards us. Even though we couldn’t get what we initially wanted, she cheered us up by suggesting plenty more sweet treats.” Cook said. 

While celebrating the success of Malia’s kitchen and Adonni’s desserts one has to recognize that black-owned businesses are far from achieving commercial equality within the African American community. In the state of Maryland, black-owned businesses make up a paltry five percent of all businesses. Supporting these black-owned businesses will have a halo effect and cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit in those who are enterprising. Malia’s Kitchen shows Montgomery County how soul food is truly done and is a hidden gem to try. Adonni’s desserts is a great place to enjoy a fresh dessert after a long day of parading the Westfield Mall. 

“I’m happy to see more black-owned businesses coming to light in Montgomery County considering the difference in black-owned and white-owned businesses in the county. This gem is truly a place I would revisit again.” Roberts said.