CHEROKEE EATS: Heart & Soul Kitchen

Senior Reporter
07/15/2019 08:30 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizens Gwen Jones and Julie Armbrister are co-owners of Heart & Soul Kitchen in Kansas, Oklahoma. It offers homestyle foods, sandwiches, soups and breads. D. SEAN ROWLEY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Heart & Soul Kitchen customers can pick up a prepared poppy seed chicken casserole that can be easily heated in the oven for a family dinner entree. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Among the soups offered by Heart & Soul Kitchen is vegetable beef stew. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Patrons have given the thumbs up to Heart & Soul Kitchen’s chicken and dumplings. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Lasagna has proven one of the most popular items among diners at Heart & Soul Kitchen. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
A customer can visit Heart & Soul Kitchen and pick up a whole tray of chocolate delight for $16. COURTESY
Owners-Operators: Gwen Jones and Julie Armbrister

Established: Aug. 4, 2018

Location: 1020 E. Tulsa Ave., Kansas, Okla.

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday

Food Types: Homestyle foods, sandwiches, soups and breads, as well as ready-made frozen foods for carryout.

Specialties: Carrot cake, chocolate delight, coconut cream pie are popular. Lasagna, Salisbury steak, homemade loaves of white and wheat bread, pasta salad, chicken salad, chef salad.

Drinks: Free refills of soda, coffee and tea for diners. Bottled water.

Prices (for an average meal): $5.99 for a whole sandwich, $3 for a half sandwich, $4.99 for a bowl of soup, $3.49 for a cup of soup.

Atmosphere: indoor seating for about 40, casual, outdoor patio

Contact info: 918-868-5555 or search for Heart & Soul Kitchen on Facebook.

Why start the business? “I’d been a teacher at Colcord Schools for 16 years, and just believed God was leading me in a new direction. I kept praying about it, and didn’t know what it would consist of, but I knew it was going to be some kind of food place. I at first just wanted to do frozen casseroles and deserts for busy moms to stop by and pick up and take home. It branched out into more than I was thinking. Julie had a sandwich shop before this, and I met her about three years ago when I was in the process of thinking through what I wanted to do. We now do this, and I’m thankful she is with me, because I couldn’t have done it by myself. We had the vision that family time was being lost, and if busy moms and dads could pick up food that they could take home and bake easily in their ovens, it would smell good and they could call the family to the table, and have that dinner time.” – Jones

How has business been? “It started off with a bang, leveled off a little bit, and now it is picking back up. Of course, we always want more customers.” – Jones

What work goes into this specialty food? “You can customize your sandwiches. Most everything is homemade. Sometimes even the sausage is homemade. Something like mayonnaise is bought, but we make our own ranch dressing, chipotle sauce, cream cheese poppy seed, pie crusts. The bread is my husband Johnny’s recipe. He isn’t a cook; we owned a chicken farm. He played around with recipes for months. People love it.” – Jones

What work goes into the restaurant? “We want to get to know people and treat them as our guests. These are friends that we know, and if we have time, we like to come out and talk to them and visit.” – Armbrister

Future Plans? “We would like to incorporate local produce. We want to improve the patio. But mostly it is wait and see. I would love to expand, and have some retail type spaces. We want people to be able to carry out our make and bake foods and desserts. We would like it to be easy for people to swing by and pick thinks up to take home for dinner.” – Jones
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