New Soul Food Restaurant Opens in Over-the-Rhine

Soul Secrets serves traditional Southern dishes, like fried chicken and collard greens, plus vegan options.

Soul Secrets is located next to Nostalgia Wine & Jazz Lounge on Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine. - Photo:
Soul Secrets is located next to Nostalgia Wine & Jazz Lounge on Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine.

Entrepreneur Candice Holloway is bringing a taste of her grandmother's cooking to Over-the-Rhine.

Holloway officially opened Soul Secrets, a Southern-style comfort food eatery, on April 30 at 1434 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine.

The fast-casual restaurant focuses on soul food with a menu that includes family-recipe fried chicken, fried fish, cornbread, collard greens, hoppin' John and mac and cheese, plus a selection of meat-free dishes like vegan salisbury steak and vegan pot pie. Brunch will launch this summer with items including shrimp and grits and chicken and waffles.

“I’m just doing what my grandmother would’ve done if she could have,” Holloway says in a release from 3CDC, which is leasing the storefront to her.

For more than a decade, Holloway ran her own consulting firm focused on home healthcare and originally launched Soul Secrets "as a corporate catering service and way to connect with her teenage daughter," says the release.

When the pandemic hit, Holloway says she pivoted her focus away from her firm to work full-time on Soul Secrets.

“We had started doing pop-ups and we were receiving so many phone calls asking if we were open because people didn’t realize we were a catering-only business. I knew it was time to open a restaurant where we could share all our family’s recipes with anyone who wanted to try them," she says.

Pre-COVID, Soul Secrets was part of Findlay Launch, what 3CDC calls "an accelerator program for food-related businesses, with an intentional focus on supporting BIPOC, women and immigrant-owned businesses," but the pandemic put the kibosh on that program.

“Someone from 3CDC reached out around the same time asking how they could help us take our business to the next level and I immediately told them we needed a permanent space,” Holloway says.

Holloway received grants from Main Street Ventures, the OTR Chamber of Commerce, the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber Foundation to help fund Soul Secrets' brick-and-mortar.

Soul Secrets is open Tuesday through Sunday. See the full menu and hours online at

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