A soul food spot is serving up down home cooking on High Street.
Is West Virginia the southernmost northern state, or the northernmost southern state? Regardless where you fall on the debate, you’ll find some rich, southern, stick-to-your-ribs kind of cooking right here in Morgantown. We caught up with Omar Roach, owner of Linsan Soulfood Restaurant on High Street to learn more about one of the newest additions to downtown.
Q: Tell us about the place.
Omar Roach: We felt Morgantown needed a good soul food place to sit down and eat good food, listen to good, classy music, and really connect with the food. We sell food you can’t get anywhere else on High Street, like fried or smothered chicken, mac ’n’ cheese with collard greens, and even homemade banana pudding. Everything we serve is prepared by me and Cynthea Brown—our second cook, shift manager, server, and the backbone of the place.
Q: Tell us about the name.
OR: The name Linsan was created by combining my mother’s and my partner’s mother’s names: Linda Roach and Sandra Taylor. My mother was a chef and cooked for free for homeless and underprivileged people. Food is my life. I’ve been cooking for over 35-40 years now and learned it all from my mother.
Q: Why did you choose High Street for your location?
OR: The location—330 High Street—was perfect. We wanted to be part of the effort to pull more people back to High Street to eat comfortably, enjoy some good food, connect with friends or family, and leave behind the hassle of the world around us.
Q: How is business?
OR: Business is business, and every day there are new challenges, especially opening up in post-pandemic times. However, we knew this was the right time to bring this about. We use a point of sale system called Toast created for restaurants in this era that we’re living in. It handles all of our online orders. We’re selling good food that no one else is selling, and our location gets some of the highest daily traffic in Morgantown, which makes it easier to get the word out.
Q: Tell us about the menu. What should we eat first?
OR: We have a floating menu, which changes from day to day. If I were to say “order the scallops and fried shrimp,” which is an excellent choice and possibly one of the best dishes we serve, I’d be taking away from the smothered chicken, the seafood boil, the steak with sauteed shrimp, the deep fried lamb chops, or our deep fried whole Cornish hen. So, what I can honestly tell you is, that no matter what you pick, you will not be upset.