NEW JERSEY - Sweet T's Southern Eatery in Montclair, New Jersey aims to put the "comfort" in comfort food, bringing a selection of southern favorites with a healthy twist to the Garden State.
The dream of a restaurant began three years ago for Tonza Houston and Andre Perrin, who are partners in business and in life.
"We kinda just put our thoughts together, and I said 'Dre you know what this is a great business idea. Montclair doesn't have southern food, you have a southern background. Why not put my thoughts, your thoughts together, come together and build a restaurant together.' and so that's kinda how the whole dream started," Tonza told FOX 5 NY.
But the restaurant had to overcome some major obstacles before they found their success. The restaurant was on track to open in the spring of 2020, but the COVID-19 threw those plans into disarray.
Finally, however, Sweet T's had a soft launch in January 2021 that began with take-out and delivery orders, and was finally able to open for indoor dining on Valentine's Day at limited capacity.
The menu at Sweet T's is a cozy selection of southern favorites inspired by Andre's upbringing in South Carolina but with a healthier twist.
"My grandfather used to cook every Sunday," Andre told FOX 5 NY. "We had his fried chicken, okra, collard greens, you know the traditional black thing, but he had suffered 3 triple bypasses during this time, so. It was a result of the food that we were eating, and I always loved the soul food, but I was like dang we gotta do something a little different."
The restaurant has seen a stream of customers from diverse racial backgrounds, which, for its owners, makes their new venture even more satisfying.