DULUTH – The Witherspoon brothers sang and laughed as they battered chicken and threw it in the deep fryer.
Tom Hanson watched with a smile of approval as the siblings navigated his kitchen at OMC Smokehouse, a popular restaurant in Duluth’s burgeoning Lincoln Park craft district.
“His eyes kind of lit up a bit the first time he tried it,” said Stephan Witherspoon, serving the crispy golden pieces alongside a bowl of his homemade cornbread dressing.
“When the man endorses you,” Solomon Witherspoon said, gesturing toward Hanson, “that’s how you know it’s real.”
The brothers are planning to open a soul food joint in Lincoln Park next year.
The venture would add them to the small roster of Black restaurant owners in the northeastern Minnesota city of 86,000.
The restaurant — dubbed Doc Witherspoon’s Soul Food Kitchen in their father’s honor — will serve Southern-style favorites like fried chicken, mac