The M&M Soul Food Cafe will reopen on January 24 after renovations

Las Vegas’ most venerable soul-food restaurant is about to be reborn, more than a year after it closed.

Jannet Kay, owner of M&M Soul Food for more than three years, said she decided to renovate the location at 3923 W. Charleston Blvd. to increase its attractiveness.

“I wanted it to be a place where customers could come in and feel at home,” she said. “I didn’t have that kind of vibe when I got there. It was not welcoming. And it’s an older building, so it needed a lot of help. I thought, ‘Why don’t we do a whole renovation process?’ ”

And – something that will resonate with anyone who has renovated a business in an older building – once work began, it was discovered that the underground pipes had deteriorated; the work that followed delayed the reopening by several months. Which actually had a good side.

“The fact that the subway is not in our hands has given me more time to think about what to do from within,” Kay said.

But that’s pretty much settled now, and the party starts on Friday. The grand reopening celebration from noon to 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday will include special offers on select food items, entertainment and giveaways.

M&M has been in its current location, Kay said, since around 2005. She said her roots in Las Vegas stretch back to 2002, when Tim Gee established a restaurant outpost at Jones Boulevard and Harmon Avenue. Los Angeles founded by his uncle’s sister, who was known as Mississippi Mary. Kay said Mary first had a restaurant in Mississippi and moved to California.

Kay became involved in the restaurant through her friendship with Gee.

“He basically took me under his wing as a restaurateur,” she said. “It was something I had wanted to get into for many years. He showed me how he ran his business. I’m a foodie, so that’s one of the reasons I took after soul food. Why not get involved in something I’m passionate about?”

Why indeed, and she channeled that passion into the new look of M&M Soul Food.

“We painted it with more vibrant colors,” Kay said – turquoise, sunshine yellow and chrome silver. The floor has new dark brown tiles. The oak tables have been made by hand and each is topped with a vase of flowers.

“We created a more country vibe,” she said. “A bunch of random decor, positive phrases.” And old-timey accents in the spirit of a Cracker Barrel. But a little bling too.

“The decor has a lot of rhinestone fixtures,” Kay said.

She said the menu remains much the same, although she has added fried chicken, more assorted cakes and weekly specials such as salads and the Soul Bowl.

After the weekend celebration, restaurant hours will be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. The new phone number is 725-780-4191. Kay said the location at 2211 Las Vegas Blvd. The south is temporarily closed due to construction.

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at [email protected] or 702-383-0474. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

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