Soul food pop-up happening after hours at Butter Cafe

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

A new pop-up on Brown Street near the University of Dayton campus is serving soul food, strombolis and much more out of the Butter Cafe’s carryout window.

Christopher Hunter is the kitchen manager at the Butter Cafe. When he closes shop at the breakfast and brunch restaurant in the afternoon, he begins prepping for his pop-up.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

The pop-up, A New Soul, combines old soul dishes with uniquely flavored recipes, Hunter said. Popular dishes include Chicken Dinners, Stromboli, Cold Nachos and more.

The Chicken Dinners feature two glazed chicken breasts on a bed of rice with any two sides. Popular sides include baked mac and cheese and collard greens.

Hunter said his Stromboli is not pizza-style. It is fried rice, grilled chicken, pepperoni, mozzarella, onions, peppers, jalapenos, a secret sauce and cheese sauce all wrapped up in a seasoned dough. The nachos feature similar ingredients on top of a bed of Doritos, he explained.

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

After serving 17 years in prison for a non-violent drug charge, Hunter said he is putting the culinary skills he learned from working in the prison’s cafeteria to good use.

“The ideas for a lot of my foods are things we made in there (prison),” said Hunter, who was released in May.

He told that prior to going to prison he had no experience in the food service industry. He said it was in prison where he worked every position from sanitation to head cook in food service and developed a work habit.

The idea to have a soul food pop-up had been in his head for awhile, before he asked Amy Beaver, owner of Butter Cafe, if he could do it.

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“I could tell he was very determined and driven,” Beaver said. “There was a fire in his belly much like my own 13 years ago, and I was lucky that someone took a chance on me.”

Hunter said he is very grateful for the opportunity.

“She has worked with me from day one,” Hunter said. “She gave me a chance. She’s such a good woman.”

He said that as business picks up he hopes to give other people a second chance.

“I need something to say I did something positive and in the end I made it,” Hunter said.

A New Soul is open 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. every day except Tuesdays. For more information, visit or the restaurant’s Facebook or Instagram pages. To place orders, call 937-672-0048.

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