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Meet the Owner: Auntie's Soul Food and More

Melissa Brown likes being in charge of her own business.

After just a couple years in the kitchen of Ladies of the Sea & Soul on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Melissa Brown is branching out and doing her own thing in Seminole Heights.

With a life long love of cooking in her heart and a staff plucked from her own family tree, Brown is setting out on her first restaurant venture on Hillsborough Avenue, in a prime location nestled directly across from the infamous .

"I like this location, I think we'll do well here," Brown said. "My mom lives in this neighborhood and now I do too. It's a nice area and it just happened to work out that I found this spot. This used to be a grocery store, but I just stopped in while they were doing construction and decided to take it."

Auntie's Soul Food and More

1006 East Hillsborough Avenue

(813) 280-9957

Inspiration: "I learned how to cook from my grandma," Brown said. "It's stuff that a lot of people like and a lot of people don't know how to cook. I've been doing it since I was 14 and I'm 32 now."

The name: "My nieces and nephews are always asking me to cook for them. Every time I turn around their asking me to make them some macaroni and cheese or something else. I got the idea for the name from them."

The menu: Auntie's is priced reasonably with entrees running between $7.99 and $10.99. Items range from chitterlings and brown stewed oxtails to fried pork chops or homemade meatloaf. Meals come with two accompaniments.

Reaction: "We've only been open a week, but I've been doing good business in that time. My lunches are busy and dinner keeps getting a good crowd. I think people like the food and with how busy this street is we're going to keep seeing new faces."

Doing her own thing: "I've never been one to take instructions, I like to be in charge and make my own rules. This is great because everyone here has to do what I think."

All in the family: A family tree is painted on the wall of Auntie's with photographs of her family hanging from its branches. Brown is the youngest of six children. "The majority of the pictures are my nieces and nephews and my mother because they were the inspiration for this place."

Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Closed on Sundays.

Denise Preziosi August 17, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Melissa is a also a Granduate of Erwin Technical School in the Seminole Heights area. Erwin Tech. is a Hillsborough County Public Vocational Center. She learned to cook from her family. She graduated as an Accounting Specialist!
Denise Preziosi August 17, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Auntie's Soul Food and More will now be open Every Third Sunday of the Month for your family enjoyment! Stop by after Church or just to visit!
Autumn August 17, 2012 at 03:46 PM
You go girl! Can't wait to try it out!
Charlene March 06, 2013 at 03:15 PM
I am so excited and always looking for great soul food!!! Heard about from one of your employee's!!! I will definitely be stopping by soon and my co-workers are excited about ordering for lunch as well!!! So happy for you!
mighty woman March 15, 2013 at 06:30 PM
First time stopping by yesterday and I heard great things before I came. But it was even better than I expected!!! The food was ridiculously good!!!! I will we back. Cant wait to bring my family. I usually only read reviews but I had to be apart of this review it was just that good!

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