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118 Got Soul – CLOSED

Posted by DID 18 Nov 2013 9 Comments

118 Got Soul seems to have all the ingredients for success –  a prime location (just a few doors down from Major the Bull), a cool concept (soul food done buffet style), and one of the cheapest dinners in town ($4.99 for a veggie plate and honey-dipped roll), but on a Friday night it was empty save our table of six. Open just two weeks, this lack of patrons may just be a result of its infancy. Had we not walked by a few weeks ago and spotted the opening soon signs, I wouldn’t have had any idea that a soul food restaurant was opening on Parrish.

As 118 Got Soul is very much newly opened, this is in no way a review. This is just a quick look at what 118 Got Soul hopes to bring to Durham dining. As they had so few customers on Friday night, the buffet was closed. Instead our friendly waitress just listed off (yep no menu) everything they were offering. Meat options included turkey ribs (?!?), pork ribs, fried chicken, baked chicken, and several types of fried fish. Vegetables included all the regular players at soul food/country kitchen joints – collards, black eye peas, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, fried okra and yams. Every meal comes with a honey roll or cornbread pancake. Desserts include banana pudding (they were out) and a variety of housemade layer cakes.

Despite beer signs, 118 Got Soul is currently alcohol-free, but beverage options do include homemade lemonade, sweet tea and cherry Kool-Aid.

Our table of six was able to sample most of the menu. The stand-outs were the turkey ribs (deep smokey flavor balanced with a sweet BBQ sauce), baked beans (sweet and meaty with molasses and ground beef), black-eyed peas (almost like refried beans, full of porky goodness and I’m guessing lard) and the fried okra (it’s fried okra). The rolls, the yeasty variety, are dipped in honey butter which is, needless to say, a nice touch.

The collards and cabbage could use more flavor and the macaroni was a bit dry. The fried chicken and pork ribs were both solid. The chicken was crisp, crusty and moist – just as it should be. The pork ribs were tender and smothered in a sweet BBQ sauce. Note for vegetarians and vegans – the collards, cabbage, black-eyed peas and baked beans all had large hunks of pork in them.

While we were there on a Friday night, several folks did come in to grab take-out orders. If you decide to give 118 Got Soul a try in its first few weeks, keep in mind the staff is very green and expect a little hiccups in the service. The service was very friendly, which made it easy to be patient and forgive the akwardness.

118 Got Soul
118 West Parrish Street


  • Ralph Haygood said:

    My partner and I are quite excited about this place. Various circumstances have so far conspired to keep us from getting there, but we’ll rectify that soon. Thanks for the pointers!


  • dc said:

    I read the saxophone graphic as a P.

    Was hoping for soup.


  • LBD said:

    Tell me about the tea. I have been to a few soul food places that for some strange reason use that nasty instant stuff, please tell me they actually brew it?


  • Ron said:

    I was pleasantly surprised at the presence of the diner. The staff was pleasant and the food was divine. Rough around the edges with the decor but this will come with time. The competition in downtown Durham is treacherous right now. I want the owners to bring their A game. Make this a destination with live music and Sunday brunch. Soul also includes Jazz, mild Hip Hop and R&B. Stand out with Caribbean Soul and Cuban Soul music. We are global not just local. I will do my part to keep the place open.


  • LBD said:

    I stopped in for lunch recently. I was by myself so I wasn’t able to sample much. I ordered the fried chicken with 2 sides. The chicken was cooked just right and the breading was fairly light and crispy and not greasy. I thought the macaroni was good and I wouldn’t say it was dry. It’s definitely made with some(maybe all?) processed/Velveeta type cheese which I hate to say I sometimes prefer to m&c made with all cheddar which can separate and get oily when it stays in a steam tray too long. The green beans were fine but most likely canned. Thankfully the iced tea was fresh brewed and not instant.

    DID said it was buffet style but if I were to be nit picky I’d say it was cafeteria style-you get one trip through the line and someone serves you.

    It was kind of dead when I got there at 12:30, hopefully that will change soon as the food is good and the staff is nice. Hope they make it.


  • Dee said:

    No pork in the sides it’s turkey


  • Sylvia Williams said:

    My partner and I stopped by for lunch today. The food was very good. We had the oxtails with sides and a Philly cheese steak with fries. The portions were just right and the cost was very affordable. The owner came out and chatted with us and was warm and friendly as well as our waitress. I highly recommend you give it a try.


  • JCE said:

    Does anyone have any idea of what their ACTUAL hours are? On their web site they say daily 11-8 but I have been by no less than 3 times well before 8 only to find it closed. No hours posted on the door, and both a phone call and an email message were ignored. I would love to try this place, but the lack of response is a little irritating.



    JCE replies on May 2nd, 2014 at 3:09 pm:

    Finally found them open one evening and asked – looks like Mon to Thurs 11-6, Fri to Sat 11-9, Sun 11-7.

    But I still didn’t see that written down anywhere, so I will probably call before I try to go.


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