Soul Slice, a fledgling pizza chain that uses a unique biscuit crust, has announced its intent to open at the former Noodle Theory Provisions space on San Pablo Avenue in North Oakland. The space has sat vacant since Noodle Theory closed back in 2019.
Soul Slice met its initial funding goals through the crowdfunding site wefunder which helps connects startups with investors. Soul Slice Founder & CEO Karter Louis notes over three decades in the restaurant and design industries and over six brands to his credit.
“I’m the third of four children in a large, close-knit family where cooking was an expression of love, nourishing much more than the body” says Louis. “At the core, Soul Slice is traditional African American soul food served on a biscuit crust.
Locally, Louis was behind Samovar Tea Lounge in SF’s SOMA district. He then went on to create Hillbilly Tea in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky before expanding his International resume with the opening of Appalachian tea cafe in Shanghai, China.
“I really thought I was done with creating restaurants, but witnessing the pandemic’s devastating effect on the restaurant industry,” Louis reflected. “I saw this as an opportunity to do better. Soul Slice is so important to me. I hope it inspires others to create more equitable restaurant ventures.”
Soul Slice notes its mission is about more than just pizza but to help “heal the soul of America with food.”
They have outlined an ambitious commitment to employee development including profit-sharing and will certify as a “Benefit” or B Corp.
All employees will be paid a full-time, living wage salary and ultimately can participate in ownership. “The Soul Slice ethos is to be of service – to each other as a team, to our patrons, and to our communities. Soul food conjures spirituality and warmth. Pizza brings forth comfort. Imagine them together,” Louis proclaimed.
In addition to pizza, their menu includes “soul plates” that include a main, two sides and gluten-free buckwheat cornbread. They also offer vegan options.
Soul Slice notes an ambitious plan to expand their model to other key markets including Harlem, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, among others.
Soul Slice plans to host its grand opening celebration to coincide with this year’s annual Juneteenth celebration (June 19th).