The 80-square-foot kiosk at the southeast corner of Broadway and Harrison has had its fair share of paint jobs and business turnover in recent years.
In a change from the many coffee shop iterations that have laid claim to the space, hearty soul food and hot dog stand Soul Shack on da Hill is now open as of October 1st.
“Our mission with Soul Shack on da hill was to bring a Southern, diverse cultural-based food to Capitol Hill,” co-owner Kyshaun Wilson tells CHS. “We feel like there’s not a lot of Southern, soul food within this area.”
Wilson runs the business alongside fellow food industry entrepreneurs Shamont Andrews, Qiuandre Austin, and Otis Timpleton.
Soul Shack’s current menu includes barbecue smoked ribs, lollipop chicken wings and “RoyalDogz,” their handmade line of smoked beef, pork and chicken hot dogs.
“When we get rolling, we want to have beef, pork, chicken, turkey, vegan, boudin — we’re just going to really expand as far as the hot dogs go,” he said.
Wilson works as a line cook at neighboring restaurant Olmstead and got into contact with the properties’ shared landowner, Ron Amundson, over the summer after noticing the kiosk space was available for lease.
But Soul Shack’s debut has had a few bumps along the way.
Wilson says raising enough funds to open has been a challenge, leading him to work overtime and take on some side jobs, and that it has also been difficult to find business partners willing to commit to this venture in the midst of a pandemic.
“We really all had individual projects and they stopped what they were doing to assist me in this project,” he said.
Soul Shack replaces the legendary Dreamboyz Espresso, the last coffee shop to stake claim over the Broadway kiosk spot when it opened last fall, garnering national attention with the slogan “Hot Guys Serving Hot Coffee.” Before that, Ladybug Espresso — under the same ownership — had a short run in the space along with a number of other coffee businesses following the 2016 closure of longtime occupant TNT Espresso.
“I’ve talked to a lot of the residents in the area and they’re just so ecstatic that it’s no longer a coffee place,” Wilson said, adding that Soul Shack is “a totally different color, it’s a totally different vibe.”
Hot dogs and Capitol Hill have been a natural pairing over the years with corner stands doing brisk business from nightlife crowds. COVID-19 has slowed the hot dog economy but it will also likely be the first to rebound.
Over the past weeks, Wilson’s been working to revamp the space with a fresh paint job and new flooring. He remains hopeful about business in the coming months, especially since the kiosk is located in a parking lot where customers can walk-up and drive-through.
“Today was our first day open and we’ve been getting a lot of business, a lot of good likes and reviews from the public and a lot of support from Capitol Hill,” Wilson said.
Soul Shack is now open at 324 Broadway E on Monday through Thursday from 11 AM to 10 PM and Friday through Sunday 10 AM to 2 AM. Learn more at soulshackondahill.godaddysites.com.