Minneapolis Restaurateurs Gerard and Brittney Klass Use Food and Faith to Survive Pandemic The duo’s focus is on a sustainable food business while continuing to serve comfort beyond the Covid crisis.
Chef Gerard Klass and his business partner-wife Brittney are hospitality veterans accustomed to the ups and downs of the industry, but the Coronavirus crisis is unlike anything they have ever seen or experienced. “The reality of this pandemic is that it is affecting people in different ways,” said Klass. Noting that most food professionals focused on either serving first responders and school children, the couple decided to turn their attention to food insecurity in North Minneapolis, primarily the North Loop district.
“We thought about the seniors in need of nutritious meals as well as families suffering because someone was suddenly unemployed, and that’s who we wanted to serve.”
The Klasses instantly set out to manage their food business, Soul Bowl, during state-mandated restrictions and preparing meals to distribute in the community. Financial support for “Food for Your Soul” came directly from their church, Glendale Seventh Day Adventist, and from donations received from customers. To date, they have served upwards of 125 meals a week for the past month in the greater Minneapolis area to individuals and organizations like Youth Link and Naomi Family Center. They have their logistics down to a science, serving the public for takeout, curbside and delivery orders and preparing meals for delivery to community customers between 4-7 p.m. daily. Chef Klass credits working on church hospitality committees as a boost to preparing for and serving meals to hundreds at a time. They also rely on paid staff to assist with cooking, assembling meals and delivery.
Right now the couple is devising a strategy for the future.They are exploring funding options for “Food for Your Soul” in the form of sponsorships and community partnerships that involve collaborations with local food producers and vendors as well as donation models. No matter what or when, Gerard Klass says the program will remain. “It is an extension of what we have always done. To be honest, we’d been happy to feed the community whether our business succeeded or failed during restrictions.” The chef is also adjusting his current business model for Soul Bowl. A steady stream of sales has allowed him to maintain some staff and Brittney’s management skills have kept them open and thriving during the crisis, however, they both realize that a plan for later is in order as the industry changes daily. With optimism, Gerard added, “People will always need the comfort of soul food and as long as we are able, it is our goal to serve them.” Soul Bowl’s is open for business Monday - Friday: 11 AM - 8PM, closed on Saturday, and open Sunday: 11 AM - 6 PM. They are located in the Graze Provisions and Libations Food Hall, 520 North 4th St , Suite 202, Minneapolis. Call Soul Bowl by phone at (612) 567-7044 or visit www.soulbowmn.com to view the menu (contains no pork), order and make a donation to “Food for Your Soul.”
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