First White Linen Restaurant In East Orange In Decades

Friday, 04 October 2013 20:31 Local Talk News Editor


After many years, there is finally a white linen restaurant in East Orange. The old East Orange Diner and City Metro Diner transformed into a new restaurant right here on Main Street. Now it is The Soul Food Factory.

On October 2, 2013 at 11:30 am East Orange Mayor Robert L. Bowser, East Orange Council President Quilla Talmadge, Councilpersons Ted Green and Virginia M. Cross, City Planner Valerie Jackson joined with owner John Longchamp with many distinguished guests to cut the ribbon and officially open The Soul Food Factory restaurant. I have visited East Orange Diner and City Metro many times, and I think John Longchamp and his family for transforming the place into a sit-down restaurant in East Orange. This is the first white linen restaurant in the city since the inception of Local Talk in November 2000.

John Longchamp and his family owned a catering business, and thanks to his growing business, opened a restaurant between South 18th and 19th streets in Newark. Longchamp said, "The company I was working with had downsized, and I had a catering business I was running from home and it was getting big. We got a location in 2004, and that's how it started in Newark. I came to know that this place was available, and in September 2012 we signed a lease at this location."

Mayor Bowser said, "They have done a nice job. They took their time and made improvements. They are in this business, so they know what to do with the business. They have redone the kitchen and added new plumbing, and they invested a lot of money to come here. People need to support them, and we will make sure that people will come out and support them."

Councilwoman Talmadge said, "I am very excited. We have been waiting for this restaurant for the last six or seven years, so we can sit down and have a nice meal. It's beautiful inside, and they have good service and good food."

The Soul Food Factory is a part of the Urban Enterprise Zone. They had to work with the ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Commission) to get a liquor license.
Valerie Jackson said, "This is an entertainment and cultural district. Some of the benefits included being able to purchase the license at a minimum bid."

She added that they have not received grants, but as a member of the UEZ, they have bought the equipment free of tax.

Bowser also added, "There are still some liquor license left, and can be used for restaurants or developers."

The restaurant is located at 431 M.L.K. Blvd. (Main Street) in East Orange.

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