It all started with the queso…
Back in 2015, sisters India Pernell and Arvelisha Woods went from being vegetarians to vegan. But they craved cheese! So the pair created their own recipe for queso and brought some of it to their hair salon in Independence. Customers loved it—and they decided to start selling their creamy comfort food. Eventually, they developed recipes for vegan nachos too and promoted their goodies at festivals and pop-ups. More success! In 2018, they bought a food truck and started catering out of a kitchen commissary, closing the hair salon to focus on their food full time. Customers wanted a restaurant—India and Arvelisha listened and now you can visit Mattie’s Foods in east Brookside, at 633 E 63rd St.
LiLike every other small business owner, India and Arvelisha had to deal with the pandemic. The lease was signed in August. “We’ve gone through so many trials and tribulations” Arvelisha explained, “that we knew how to work under pressure. We just got creative and made it work”. The restaurant has been a hit—when I visited last week after the lunch rush, there was still a steady stream of people coming in after 2pm for a meal. “We have always loved Brookside and grew up near here. Brookside has the entrepreneurial spirit and the locals support small business owners.”
So what else is on the menu? Besides nachos and the infamous queso, Mattie’s offers breakfast, including a biscuit sandwich, pancakes and the popular Mattie bon—a cinnamon roll with fruit flavor options. Popular lunch items are the brisket sandwich made with tofu, and various types of mac and cheese. There are no fried foods in this place—and, most items can be made gluten free. Mattie’s still caters for events and sells family meals, including special vegan meals with a Thanksgiving theme.
As you may have guessed, Mattie’s is named after the sisters’ beloved grandmother. They both grew up learning how to cook from Mattie, and as they created the vegan recipes, were inspired by those childhood food memories.
Mattie’s Foods is open Wednesdays and Saturdays, 9am-3pm; Thursdays and Fridays, 9am-7pm. Stop in for a meal of “comfort food made smart”!