It’s easy to see why people flock to Mikki’s Soul Food Café, where there is a long, winding line at most times as customers wait patiently for their food served in cafeteria style.

The food is plentiful, fresh, and in home-cooked style, bringing comfort and family dinner memories to the masses. As their in-store sign states: “Where you can taste the love.”

Twenty years ago, Jeanette Williams took her soul food and southern-style food catering operation into the brick-and-mortar restaurant at 10500 W. Bellfort and called it Mikki’s Soul Food Café.

After she died in 2019, her children Craig and Jeanelle have kept the restaurant open and operating, along with another location in Pearland.

Still busy with catering corporate and private events with enough space in both locations, and a private dining room in Pearland, the family-owned business gets rave reviews and repeat catering customers. Remarls on Yelp and other recommendation sites are all glowingly positive.

Now the business has a food truck to take the tastes all over the city. Check out their social media to learn where the truck will pop up.

The original restaurant, with a large and loyal crowd of customers, even stayed busy during the COVID years with a large take-out business.

Recently a cocktail bar was installed inside the large restaurant to attract happy hour patrons.

The food is served in heaping, hearty portions and everything tasted freshly cooked on a recent visit, even if it is served cafeteria style, sitting in large trays that get replenished frequently. The original recipes come from Jeanette Williams and are tried and true.

Sampling the fried catfish platter that came with a choice of two or three sides proved enough meal for two sittings. The catfish is lightly fried and the breading is seasoned just enough to add unique flavor.

The entrée was accompanied by mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and black-eyed peas.

The macaroni and cheese was flavorful and gooey-cheesy. Also delicious were the black-eyed peas, which are made with green peppers and shreds of pork and are thick in gravy.

A popular item is their fried chicken, which is only prepared and sold on Fridays through Sundays. The crispy exterior provides a perfect amount of crunch with juicy meat inside. They sell out of this item quickly.

Other traditional soul food staples are also plentiful: Oxtails in thick gravy, meatloaf, beef tips, tilapia, roasted chicken, ham hocks, smothered fried chicken cutlets, turkey wings, stuffed bell peppers, and smothered pork chops are on daily specials or regular staples.

Mouth-watering side dishes include soul food favorites collard greens, candied yams, pinto beans, smoked green beans, corn, cabbage, okra and tomatoes and red beans; in addition to the black-eyed peas, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes sampled.

The cornbread that accompanies the generous portions comes in two varieties – jalapeño and regular. It’s  fluffy and tasty.

The meal is not complete without a delicious dessert of peach cobbler, banana pudding, sweet potato pie or an item from a large selection of cakes, including red velvet and German chocolate.

Open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

— By Arlene Nisson Lassin