Among the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic are many local businesses who could not survive the economic fallout caused by COVID-19.
So many restaurants have closed their doors for good. So, one might think it would be quite risky to open up a new restaurant right in the middle of a pandemic, but for one Valley family, the opportunity to open their doors is a dream come true.
Malika Murphy, IV is getting ready to celebrate the grand opening of Sue's Soul Food Heaven, a dream inspired by her late sister Kenyatta "Sue" Lucas who died suddenly at the age of 43 after suffering from a brain aneurysm.
You'll see "Sue's" face smiling down at you as you drive up to the colorful restaurant located at 4535 W. Indian School Road in Phoenix.
Local artists have brought the cinderblock building to life with their creations.
"I know she is watching over us. She is smiling and happy that we actually accomplished this as a family," said Murphy.
She explains they faced many obstacles while renovating their new space to get it ready for the grand opening. From losing a cook to having an SUV plow into their building on the night before the inspection, Murphy said through it all she kept going, her sister's spirit giving the strength.
"Her spirit basically just keeping me moving even though it's hard. Blood, sweat, tears, it's real rough tough but we're still moving. We're still going to make it happen," said Murphy.
She added that they already had a plan to move forward with the grand opening in the middle of a pandemic.
"We're going backward, so a lot of restaurants rely on dine-in. We're going the opposite we're doing take out carry out and then we'll get ready for dine-in.
The healthy soul food restaurant will feature smoked items and wraps. Murphy said they also had spiced pickles from St. Louis and corned beef from Michigan. The restaurant features a "Motown feel" with menu items also reflecting that theme with names such as "Stand by me sausages" and "There goes my baby chicken."
The soft opening for Sue's Soul Food Heaven goes from December 29 with the grand opening set for January 3. Restaurant owners will be raffling off bikes and toys for children along with TVs. They also plan to give back to the community by offering a free meal to a family in need once a week.