This Jamaican chef’s award-winning fried chicken finds a permanent home in Wynwood – Yahoo News

When Jamaican-American chef Troy Tingling set out on the road with his new Soulfly Chicken food truck two years ago, his first order of business was to deliver meals to a Miami homeless shelter. He wanted to show potential customers that his new business cared about the community.
Then the truck broke down on I-95, two exits away from where he needed to be.
“Everyone else panicked,” recalls the chef, who grew up in Jamaica, graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in 2008 and is known for blending Caribbean flavors into his dishes. “I called an Uber, packed it with all the food, and the shelter still got their meals.”
That calm, quick thinking and decisiveness, honed by 20 years in the food business, has helped Tingling weather disappointments and disruptions over the years. After a career of working in resorts and restaurants and as a private chef to celebrities like NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire, his dream was to open a brick-and-mortar version of Soulfly Chicken that served Southern comfort on a plate.
Finally, after a delay due to the pandemic, his first restaurant is opening in Wynwood.
“In this business, things happen that you have no control over,” he says, remembering that day at the side of the road. “I think of that as a lesson. I try not to let it break me. This is my first time opening my own restaurant, so I will take every lesson as a blessing.”
Opening a fast-casual concept in Wynwood, a draw for upscale restaurants like Brad Kilgore’s MaryGolds at the Arlo hotel or the brand-new Pastis from New York, may seem counter-intuitive. But Tingling was tired of working as a private chef, tired of traveling.
“I said, ‘It’s time to go home,’ ” he says. “When people asked where I’m going, I said, ‘I’m going to open a restaurant in the hottest area of Miami.’ Everyone laughed. But it happened.”
The original plan was for Soulfly Chicken to be a full-service restaurant. Instead, it offers take-out and delivery only. It’s located just south of Beaker & Gray in the same Wynwood block as the coffee shop Suite Habana Café, which was just highlighted in Bon Appetit’s story on Miami as the best foodie city in the country.
Tingling says the pandemic forced him to change his original plans for the concept, which won Best Fried Chicken at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival last fall. Without knowing if customers would return to dining out, he chose a contactless, takeout and delivery model at a time when demand for delivery was skyrocketing — especially in a growing neighborhood.
The menu includes all the favorites you’d want: chicken wings, fried chicken sandwiches plus sides like fried corn, smoked greens and mac and cheese. Tingling uses an exclusive soundwave technology to cook the chicken faster and with 40 percent less oil, which results in juicier — and healthier — chicken. The chicken stays crispier longer due to less oil, which keeps it fresher for delivery, he says.
Soulfly Chicken also will serve sandwiches made with plant-based chicken, and all the chicken is gluten free.
Tingling admits he’d like to run his own full-service restaurant, but he feels like his comfort-food offerings will be well-suited to the neighborhood. He still plans to use the Soulfly food truck for catering and private events.
“I wouldn’t mind a sit-down place,” he says. “I could interact with guests a little longer. But I’ve designed this place where I can see your face, and you can see me cooking your food.”
Where: 2615 N. Miami Ave., Miami
Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-3 a.m. Friday-Saturday. Closed Sunday-Monday
More information: www.soulflychicken.com or 305-440-9121
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