Vonda’s Kitchen in Newark Offers Soul Food with Style.

The last time I saw Vonda McPherson, she was behind the counter of Shack’s, her barbecue/soul food restaurant in downtown Elizabeth.

The place was spare but cozy — three tables, a picnic table for waiting takeout customers, photos of Negro League ballplayers and jazz greats on the wall.

She sure has come a long way. No more being located next to a bail bondsman (it was her dad, but still). No more customers scrambling for parking spots in downtown Elizabeth.

The owner of Vonda’s Kitchen now operates out of a sprawling kitchen/dining room on the ground floor of the City View Landing senior residences in Newark. One of her catering clients, the Newark Housing Authority, suggested she move into one of its new developments.

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