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The Quarters goes full out on flavor | New business
Patience and a passion for serving up flavor-filled soul food guided an ambitious Kent couple to enter the restaurant business.
For T. Woods and her partner, Jade, The Quarters on First Avenue South in historic downtown is a longtime dream come true, a chance to bring a fusion of "N'awlins and Midwest cuisine" to the local palate.
"It's what I wanted," T. Woods said between greeting customers at her spacious restaurant, formerly the Vibe nightclub. "I saw this place nine years ago, and it reminded me so much of the French Quarter in New Orleans. It's the place where we wanted to be."
The couple kept an eye on the spot, then waited. When the building became available, they jumped at the chance, immediately making some creative improvements, inside and out. There is outside seating, true to a sidewalk café setting, and a warm interior sprinkled with Southern-style decor and tables, both big and small.
The Quarters officially opened July 10 to rave reviews.
The restaurant is into comfort – both in ambiance and food.
"Their food is fantastic and the atmosphere is lovely," said Caren Crowley, of the Kent Chamber of Commerce. "They have worked really hard to make it a comfortable dining experience."
New to the game, the Woods have called on experienced restauranteurs to help show the way. Merchants and city of Kent leaders have been supportive.
"It's pretty wonderful. It's exciting here," Jade Woods said of her first foray into the restaurant business. "Kent is a beautiful town. The street is amazing because it matches what we were looking for, the New Orleans charm, the French Quarter look. First Avenue brings all of that with all the historic buildings and all the great people who are on the block."
The owners come from different backgrounds but with similar tastes.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wis., T. Woods has made the Northwest her home. She has spent 20-plus years in law enforcement and works as a patrol officer for the Port of Tacoma.
Jade Woods, who spent 13 1/2 years in the Army, owned and operated a couple of salons in her native Portland, Ore., before coming to Kent.
Both women spent time living in the South and Southwest, coming away influenced by family-rooted, Southern-style recipes from the kitchen.
T. Woods serves as the restaurant's main chef, but Jade Woods also pitches in by preparing her specialties – jambalaya, collard greens, beignets and cornbread.
"Our food is fresh, nothing out of a can," Jade Woods added.
The Quarters' uniquely designed menu includes the Friedbaloneesammich; Grandma Anna's Turkey Necks; Shrimp Po'boy: sautéed or fried; Slap yo' momma Salmon Croquettes; and Grits and Shrimp.
"Some of the things on their menu are not available anywhere else in Kent," Crowley said.
To build clientele, The Quarters is open on selected times and days.
The Woods also plan to invest and become a part of the community.
• Business: The Quarters
• Location: 226 First Ave. S., Kent
• Specializing: Soul and comfort food, combining the taste of grassroots Midwest-style cooking with the down-home tastes of Southern creole.
• Hours: 3 to 11 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; Sunday's N'Awlins Brunch is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Information: www.thequarters.biz