Taste: Hot Plate Soul Kitchen

by Jacqueline Rupp

The Scoop:
Hot Plate, a soul food restaurant is the newest addition
to SouthSide Bethlehem’s burgeoning restaurant scene.
Created by chef/entrepreneur Terrence “T.R.” Burns and
his wife Mya, the restaurant has been completely rebuilt
and renovated to include a first floor dining area and a
second floor entertainment loft. The couple also owns
Influence TV Network and hopes to bring education
and empowerment series to the venue.

What to Try:
The scratch menu includes plenty of mouth-watering options, including the Smothered Chicken and Waffles topped with a gravy that combines both sweet and savory. The Smothered Black Bean meatloaf is a satisfying dinner that could probably even please a meat-eater with its hearty sauce and two sides. At .35 cents, ordering a side of cornbread is pretty much a given along with some candy yams.

Fun Facts:
• Burns is an author too and you can find his book on the shelf upstairs in the library where guests can read and dine at the same time.

• The lemonade iced tea has quickly become a customer favorite and is worth a sample with a good mellow balance of sweet and tart.

• The “Cak and Cheese” (cauliflower and cheese) might actually fool you into thinking it’s macaroni and not a healthy alternative.

When ordering, shoot for: Something smothered, something honey-dipped and something Jerk — and don’t forget a Soul Roll and some cauliflower.

What’s Unique:
The menu is a combination of both tried and true soul food staples — fried chicken, macaroni and cheese,
collard greens — along with some innovations on tradition like soul rolls (egg roll like appetizers that are filled with everything from mac ‘n cheese to curry potatoes, and for $1.25 are a real bargain) and the inclusion of
Carribbean fare like Jerk chicken.

Burns also tried to be inclusive to a variety of diets in the menu and there are ample vegetarian options. He said he did this out of frustration with typical vegetarian options at
restaurants which were limited to
one or two choices and didn’t include the signature flavors of the menu. At Hot Plate, you don’t have to feel shut out of any experiences by going meat-free with dishes like the BBQ Cauliflower, Jerk Cauliflower and Pineapple and Lemon Pepper Veggie Medley with homemade sauces.

The owners have big plans for the second floor loft that they renovated, which include hosting local bands, family game nights and speaker series that focus on entrepreneurs and small businesses in the Lehigh Valley, all beginning in January.

Hot Plate Soul Kitchen
Monday – Thursday 2-9 p.m. Friday & Saturday
11 a.m. – 11 p.m.,
Sunday noon – 6 p.m.
201 E. 3rd St., Bethlehem