Springfield Soul Food restaurant expands to Holyoke after noticing lack of cuisine in area

Hampden County

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – In 2014, Melvin Lockett and his mother noticed a lack of soul food restaurants in the area. That’s when they opened Khi & Eli’s food for the soul, named after Melvin’s oldest sons. Melvin credits his mom and family’s recipes to their success.

“My mom her whole life, she was like, ‘One day I’m gonna get me a restaurant. I’m gonna get a restaurant,'” said Melvin.

They started looking for their next location in 2019, now it just opened on High Street in Holyoke. The pandemic changed things for them but not for the worse.

“As far as being on platforms like Grubhub, Uber Eats, Door Dash, it helps a lot. People are at home, they don’t really feel safe to come out too much so you can still get your food delivered to you,” said Melvin.

Soul food originated in the south as food that was given to enslaved people on plantations. Now it’s come full circle into a profitable business.

“What’s so amazing about our culture is no matter what is thrown at us, we’ll turn lemonade out of lemons. We’ll make the best of it,” Melvin said.

The term “soul food” originated in the 1970s during the Black Power movement. And as for reviews from his customers…

“It’s good. That’s the best response ever. It feels so good. It gives you the drive to keep you going,” said Melvin.

His mother runs the original location on Sumner Avenue in Springfield while he takes care of the new one.

Their Sumner Avenue hours are Wednesday through Friday Noon-8:00 PM and Saturday 1:00PM-8:00PM.

The High Street hours are:

  • Tuesday through Friday 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday 1:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

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