Arts & CultureFood

Beloved Eugene restaurant Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen and BBQ to close in near future

Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen and BBQ, a popular and beloved restaurant in the Whiteaker neighborhood, announced today that it will be closing after 15 years in business. The restaurant, at 400 Blair Blvd., made the announcement via Facebook.

In the post, current restaurant owner Deb Lee thanked the community and the restaurant’s staff for their support.

“As I take this next step in my life, I want to thank you all for the years of support and kindness you’ve shown to me. I will forever be grateful for the Soul Kitchen and for you,” Lee wrote in the post.

The Facebook post flooded with comments from patrons, sad to hear of the business’ closing.

Cathleen Cope writes: “Oh no….I love your place. I wish you could pass it to your kids to keep it going. I think I better run up there soon to get my chicken and waffles. Seriously the tastiest waffle, so savory. Yum!”

Ryne Schill writes: “Thank you for being the best food spot in town for all of my known memory. You guys are the one place I tell out of towners to go check out, and are one of the special businesses in Eugene.”

A local musician and entrepreneur, Theodore “Ted” Lee, also nicknamed “Papa,” opened the restaurant 15 years ago. He passed away at 43 in 2009, but his wife Deb has continued to keep the restaurant going.

Papa’s Soul Food, known for its Southern comfort food and unique charm, received much acclaim and has become a beloved Eugene restaurant over the years. Food Network personality Guy Fieri visited with his show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” in 2014.

The Emerald called Papa’s Soul Food for further information, but staff members declined to comment. Read the original announcement below:

Update: Papa’s Soul Food is now closed as of Saturday, Nov. 4.

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Sararosa Davies

Sararosa Davies

Sararosa Davies is the senior A&C editor at the Emerald. A former editor at the youth-run music blog Garage Music News, her written work has been featured in City Pages in Minneapolis, Eugene Weekly and Sirius XM's music blog. She's one of many Minnesotan transplants in Oregon.

Send her tips and questions at [email protected] or check out her work at