MILWAUKEE — Bennie Smith Jr. was not going to be denied when it came to opening up his first restaurant, Daddy’s Soul Food & Grill, located on 27th and Wells.
He didn’t have enough money in his checking account to cover the check he used for his opening license, so Bennie had to float the check.
“So, I went down to city hall and said ‘do you have a license for Daddy’s Soul Food and Grill’, and she said just go and see the clerk. The clerk said that will be $1,200 and something, and I said, ‘I’m going to float this check.'”
Ranked as one of the top soul food restaurants in the city, going into their sixth year, Bennie and his wife wanted to create something special.
“I wanted to create a brand,” Bennie says. “Not only for just this neighborhood but particularly for Daddy’s, where you come in and get quality food, you come in and get clean service, the ambiance is appealing it’s attractive, that is satisfying and then when you get good customer service, along with the food that’s the brand.”
Everything here is fresh and cooked daily, their catfish is a big hit and so are their sides.
“What’s very hot is the mac and cheese, people love the macaroni the collard greens, to me honestly they’re the best in the city. I’ll say that they are delicious, all of our sides have meat included, it’s always smoked turkey, we don’t use pork,” said Angela.
“When my wife was on my side,” Bennie says. “I don’t care what my friends say. I had people tell me that ain’t nobody coming on Wells to spend no $10 on no plate. They thought it was too much, they thought it was too dangerous, I say baby are you with me, Ann said she with me, it was a done deal.”