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Small soul food catering business makes an impact in the Detroit community

a 22-year-old Detroit native uses his passion for cooking and personal experiences to launch a small food catering business.
SoulBrothers Catering. Logo by Joel Thornton

Detroit, MI — The Detroit community has a new small catering business with a soul

food twist. "SoulBrothers Catering LLC" opened its doors officially on January 24, 2022. One Detroit native is cooking up some success in their community. Joel Thornton a.k.a. “Chef Joe” is the owner of his new business, specializing in catering mouthwatering soul food to everyone! Whether it's a birthday party, private/public event, or a wedding. "Food is my passion," Chef Joe said. "I'm dedicated to letting everyone know that good quality soul food and customer service still exist." That was the mantra for starting his business.

SoulBrothers Catering LLC started in 2017, catering its service to small events in the community. "We were just like, let's do a couple of events and see how I go," Chef Joe said. He says that he and his brothers (who are his cousins) did their first event together, which was held at the Romulus Athletic Center called “Resolution Reset” a cheat day for those who work out.

SoulBrothers Catering serving the people at the Romulus Athletic Center for cheat day. 📸 • Joel Thornton

"It was a cheat day there," Chef Joe said. The business catered for the event and began to run out of food. After success with the first event, Chef Joe went on, to cater to more events. The business was like a side business to him when he started. He moved around a lot and the business gave him support to stay afloat.

In 2021, things got serious for the business. It got more clients and advertising began. "I’m networking to get my name out here," Chef Joe said. His goal is to be known everywhere in the community. The business celebrated its milestone of one year of being an official business in Michigan on January 24th, 2023!!!

Recently, the business received a small grant from Black Leaders Detroit (BLD) which specializes in providing capital to black-owned businesses, and the Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance, also known as MDBBA. MDBBA has over 650 members and specializes in getting funds for black-owned businesses. MDBBA held a holiday party for small business owners within its organization. At the event, SoulBrothers won a $2,500 grant for the business. "I'm actually still in business training with them," Chef Joe said. "Going through the process to obtain funding with them."

One of the biggest impacts of his business is how he has helped the community: providing the less fortunate with a hot meal prepared by himself on Thanksgiving. "it’s big to me because it touched my heart in a lot of different ways," Chef Joe says. SoulBrothers fed 250-plus people in need and provided light clothing and hygiene products for them with the help of several donations. "For me to be put in that position where I can help somebody that was in the same position I was in, is absolutely amazing," he continues.

Chef Joe credits how he was raised for the success of his business thus far. He mentioned that he had a tough upbringing and wanted to make an impact in the community on a day when most don’t feel loved or thankful. His current goal for this year is to continue to grow the business.

Learn more about SoulBrothers Catering, LCC or to inquire about the business, email

To learn more about Black Leaders Detroit or the Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance, by clicking the above links.


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