Deja was born in Meriden into a big family – four brothers and a sister and grew up heavily into sports – especially football. He played for the Meriden Raiders and then went on to become All-State for Platt High School. After some time at Dean Junior College, he returned home to Meriden to start his career. A life-long fashionista and admirer of the finer things in life, Deja worked at 3M and saved his money to eventually purchase a clothing store. With the help of friends in Waterbury who assisted with the acquisition of nice clothing at wholesale prices, his store in Meriden was up and running and lasted for about a year before the location and demand proved to be too localized for the type of product. After considering a variety of other business options, he noticed the open site at 511 West Main Street while bringing his daughter to school and watched it for over a month. Long story short, he soon had the keys and a soul food spot was born.
“Soul food brings back memories from when I was young, and my grandmother would cook a bunch of food – collard greens, mac & cheese, fried chicken, and more – and the family would sit around the table and laugh, talk about old memories and current events. Soul food, to me, is more than just the food you are eating. It’s the love and comfort that you should be feeling when you are eating that food. And I’m 100% sure that my Chef will make that happen for our customers.” ~ Deja