Urban soul food restaurant opens


Head Chef Trimell Hawkins works in the kitchen at Forty Acres in Grand Rapids' Wealthy Street neighborhood. Photo via fb.com

A local soul food restaurant in the works since last year is opening today.

Co-owners Lewis Williams and Darel Ross II will host a grand opening at 5 p.m. for Forty Acres Soul Kitchen in Grand Rapids, at 1059 Wealthy St. SE.

Ross and Williams announced their plans to open the restaurant last June.

The restaurant soft launched last month with catering and takeout.

The partners describe the restaurant as “authentically American” and a “celebration of black America.”

The establishment’s name comes from the U.S. government’s broken promise of “40 acres and a mule” to former slaves following the Civil War.


Trimell Hawkins, a graduate of the Secchia Institute of Culinary Arts at Grand Rapids Community College and former executive chef for the Black Heron, is Forty Acres’ head chef.

He spent the past several months developing the menu, inspired by traditions passed on to him from his grandmother, plus his own “creative twist.”

Dishes include twisted gizzards, fried okra, tamales, fried green tomatoes, skillet cheese, po’ boys, sliders, gumbo, dumplings, crab cakes, grits and an array of sides and salads.

Many of the items can be served gluten-free and vegan.

The business does not yet have a liquor license.

Takeout and catering is also available.


The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

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