The first thing to know about Wendy’s House of Soul in North Minneapolis is that Google Maps does not entirely understand where it is. In spite of our carefully entering the eatery’s full name, and Google accepting it, the cheerful Google voice took us first to a Wendy’s fast food location then to a residential street. It would probably be easier to search for K’s Grocery and Deli, which is the primary business at that address. Wendy’s House of Soul is a diner inside K’s. There are a few tables and chairs for eating in.
The second thing to know about Wendy’s is that it’s absolutely worth the effort to find it. Wendy (yes, there’s a real Wendy, and she was running the grill at our visit) makes everything from scratch: Some recipes she’s developed herself, and others come from generations behind her.
Those recipes include a variety of Soulrolls ($5-$6), a play on the traditional egg roll with a fried-crisp egg roll wrapper, but much bigger and with more soul-based fillings. We tried the Nanny ($5), a mammoth roll full of greens, fried chicken, and mac ’n’ cheese. Between the crunchy and soft textures, the tangy greens, and the soothing mac ’n’ cheese, this was a world of taste in an egg roll wrapper. The Cheeseburgerfry ($5) was as advertised, stuffed with seasoned ground beef and French fries as well as Wendy’s Hot Mess, a spicy, pepper-based mix that raised the profile from lowly burger to something more complex. The Nature ($5) made a good pairing with the other rolls, its interior packed full of crunchy fresh veggies that complemented the softer interiors of the others.
As pleased as we were with the Soulrolls, the true joy came with an order of Wendy’s Wings ($7 for 7, $13 for 14, $20 for 21). Dry-rubbed with Wendy’s secret mix that was redolent of garlic and cayenne, the wings were fried perfectly — crispy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside. These are the kind of wings that make people go quiet while they eat them to concentrate on fully enjoying how delicious they are.
The wings made a second appearance on the Chicken & Waffle Meal ($9). A sizable Belgian waffle was light, tender, and faintly sweet, with a mildly nutty flavor, a perfect offset to the zippy wings. But the waffle would stand on its own, and it was delightful to eat even without syrup.
The only item that didn’t quite work for us was the Kool-Aid ($1.69). The flavor of the day was cherry, and it was sweet. Very sweet. Too sweet. Even the 10-year-old at the table found it to be too much. That said, it did generate conversation among the adults, who agreed that it was the kind of Kool-Aid we wished our parents had let us have when we were kids. Other beverages are available to purchase from the grocery-store side of the business.
But it’s easy enough to skip the Koolaid and feast on everything else.
Wendy’s House of Soul
Diner in North Minneapolis
1021 W Broadway Ave N
Minneapolis, MN 55411
Daily 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
RESERVATIONS / RECOMMENDED?: No
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / No
ENTREE RANGE: $4-$13
NOISE LEVEL: Moderate
PARKING: Free street parking