Chef D’Andre Carter has always drawn inspiration from his childhood on the South Side of Chicago and cooking dinners with his grandmother. Together with partner Heather Bublick, they launched Soul & Smoke as a catering company in 2015. When the pandemic began, they quickly shifted their business model and began selling smoked meats and comfort food sides at farmers markets in the Chicagoland area (Evanston, Logan Square, South Loop). Shortly after, they purchased a food truck for private events and neighborhood block parties. In the fall of 2020, with gathering sizes still reduced, and fewer outdoor events at which to have pop ups, Soul & Smoke opened the doors to their first to-go location out of their kitchen in Evanston. Word quickly spread and Soul & Smoke became a North Shore staple, receiving both local and national praise. Soon after, Soul & Smoke opened a location in Avondale and then at Time Out Market in the West Loop. In June of 2022, Soul & Smoke moved their Avondale location to Rockwell on the River, offering a counter-service menu with indoor and outdoor seating along the Chicago River. The Soul & Smoke food truck has continued to pop up all over Chicago, and has become a staple at festivals, private parties and charity events, with a second truck coming this fall.
Carter has stacked Soul & Smoke’s menu with comfort food classics influenced by his fine dining pedigree. In addition to notable restaurant success, Chef Carter has launched a retail product line, debuting his signature BBQ sauce in all 44 Mariano’s grocery stores as well as various other stores throughout Chicago. With more product launches on the forefront and a restaurant build out in Evanston on the horizon, the Black-owned and women-led team has no plans of slowing down.
The company’s success goes directly back into their local communities through a variety of avenues, including World Central Kitchen’s Chef Corps program where, in collaboration with Chef José Andres, they were able to provide over 200,000 meals to the Chicago community during the pandemic and, most recently, thousands of meals to first responders in Highland Park. Chef Carter is also a current board member of The Trotter Project, and Soul & Smoke offers a 24-hour community fridge located at their Evanston location, which supplies meals free of charge to anyone in need.