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Fargo-based Heart-n-Soul Community Cafe hits the road with food trailer

The pay-what-you-can cafe's volunteers are learning the ins and outs of their kitchen on wheels and planning to expand the reach of the non-profit's good food for all philosophy.

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Heart-n-Soul Community Cafe founder and Executive Director Leola Daul stands by the nonprofit's food trailer on Friday, July 23, 2021. Daul said the pay-what-you-can meal providing nonprofit hopes the trailer will boost its outreach to Fargo-Moorhead's neighborhoods. Helmut Schmidt/The Forum

FARGO - Heart-n-Soul Community Cafe has been feeding Fargo-Moorhead residents wherever they could. Now they can go to where the people are.

The pay-what-you-can cafe recently acquired a food trailer, and even as volunteers get the hang of working with a kitchen on wheels, they are thinking about how the nonprofit’s reach can be expanded.

“We’ve only been operating since June. So far, it’s been really good. I’ve had a lot of people asking for us to come out to their locations or their neighborhoods,” Heart-n-Soul’s founder and Executive Director Leola Daul said Thursday, June 22.

“We’re able to get back into the community. We’re still not inside, we’re outside. We’re just really looking forward to being out there again. People miss the connections,” she said.

Since its founding in 2016, the Fargo-based community cafe has been feeding groups at pop-up stops around Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo in churches and at (Fargo Cass) Public Health and Family Healthcare.

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When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the region, Heart-n-Soul started making lunches 400 and 500 at a time for community members.

While the cafe’s leaders had been considering a bricks and mortar location, the pandemic made a mobile model look like a better choice, Daul said.

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Meals are prepared by local chefs. Prep work is done in certified kitchens (First Presbyterian Church in downtown Fargo and Square One Kitchen in Fargo). The trailer has a refrigerator, freezer, flatop grill and stove, so hot food is prepared there.
A recent menu included:

  • A vegetarian chickpea korma (an Indian stew on rice) with a salad and a Mediterranean Buddha bowl.
  • Bulgar wheat tabouleh (a Middle Eastern salad dish).
  • Heart-n-Soul burger with caramelized onions, picked peppers, garlic aioli, served with mixed greens.
  • Cinnamon sugar French toast, with creme fraiche and strawberry rhubarb compote

Daul said Heart-n-Soul typically serves meals every other week in different locations. She said if all goes well, that she’d like to open more often.
“This is kind of our first summer, so we’re kind of still learning,” Daul said. “Three times a week would be wonderful.”

Daul wants to partner with the metro area’s neighborhoods and local businesses to increase outreach with the food trailer.

“The main thing is we want people to feel welcome and that everybody has the opportunity to have a good meal, and then (some) conversation,” Daul said.

To find out where Heart-n-Soul will be serving next, or to learn about volunteer opportunities, go online to heartnsoulcafe.com or to the nonprofit’s Facebook page.

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