Restaurant Review

Comfort Food With Soul: Vonda’s Kitchen

At Vonda’s Kitchen in Newark, owner Vonda McPherson serves what she calls “healthy comfort food.”

Shrimp with grits.
Shrimp with grits.
Photo by Deborah Carter

Vonda’s Kitchen
Newark
183-185 West Kinney Street
973-732-4532

Open: Breakfast, lunch and early dinner, daily

Price: $$

Style: Bright storefront with contemporary look, serving what its website calls “delicious healthy comfort food.” Sit at banquettes or metal chairs at the patterned-steel tables. Some walls are devoted to the work of local artists. Behind the counter, a large window affords a view of the busy kitchen.

The Scoop: Vonda McPherson opened her first restaurant in Elizabeth in 1998. Vonda’s, her third venture, opened in 2012. Its soul food is healthier than some versions of the cuisine, going lighter on sugar, salt and oiliness, while not skimping on flavor.

The Menu: Served all day, breakfast is a real draw. Along with traditional faves—silver dollar pancakes, oatmeal, omelets—you’ll find biscuits and gravy, chicken with waffles, and salmon cakes with cheese grits. Don’t overlook the outstanding shrimp with grits (pictured). You get six large shrimp bathed in New Orleans-style gravy, with its subtle kick, served over thick, creamy grits with bits of beef sausage adding heft and flavor. For lunch and dinner, choose from a host of sandwiches, burgers (beef, veggie, turkey), salads, plus hearty classics like oxtails over rice and beans, smothered turkey wings, and barbecued short ribs.

Heads Up: You may have to wait for a table on weekends. Service is friendly, if sometimes slow.

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Restaurant Details

  • Cuisine Type:
    Soul Food
  • Price Range:
    Moderate
  • Ambience:
    Bright storefront with contemporary look, serving what its website calls “delicious healthy comfort food.”

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