New food star to open on S. Highland

A California-based restaurant franchise, Celebrity’s Soul Food, is rolling out the red carpet Wednesday, Oct. 5, in Memphis to celebrate the grand opening of its first Tennessee location at the former Newk’s Eatery site on South Highland Street.

Celebrity’s founders Taja and Fredrick Jacobs partnered with franchisees Jennifer Cochran-Welch and Court Welch to open the Memphis location. The restaurant, located at the former Newk’s Eatery site on S. Highland Street, will seat up to 130 people for full-service dining and will offer a full takeout menu. It will be the third Celebrity’s Soul Food location, after Ocala, Florida and Salt Lake City, Utah.

“This is the capital of soul. We gotta come to Memphis,” said Fredrick Jacobs, Celebrity’s president and chairman.

Taja and Fredrick Jacobs, a husband and wife duo, launched their large-scale soul restaurant concept in 2014.

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“Soul food has never been scaled before,” Taja Jacobs, Celebrity’s CEO, said. “There’s never been a national soul food representation. (Fredrick) said he was going to create the first concept.”

Since its beginnings as a pop-up in Beverly Hills, Celebrity’s specializes in “elevated staples of soul food favorites.” The company plans to open a total of 200 new locations across the United States.

“We’ve taken soul food and infused it with other cuisines,” Frederick Jacobs said. “We’re not only scaling the cuisine, but we’re making it health conscious and for the community.”

The menu at Celebrity’s Soul Food has some classic dishes you’d find at other soul food joints, such as fried chicken and shrimp and grits. But unlike them, you’ll also see a variety of vegan options, and no pork.

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