Las Vegas’ most venerable soul-food restaurant is about to be reborn, more than a year after it was shuttered.
Jannet Kay, who has owned M&M Soul Food for more than three years, said she decided to renovate the location at 3923 W. Charleston Blvd. to increase its appeal.
“I wanted it to be somewhere where customers can come in and feel like they were at home,” she said. “I didn’t get that kind of a vibe when I first came in there. It didn’t feel welcoming. And it’s an older building, so it needed a lot of help. I thought, ‘Why don’t we just do a whole renovation process?’ ”
And — something that will resonate with anyone who’s renovated a business in an older building — once the work got started, it was discovered that underground pipes had deteriorated; the ensuing work delayed the reopening for several months. Which actually had a bright side.
“The underground being out of our hands gave me more time to think about what to do with the inside,” Kay said.
But it’s just about set now, and the party starts Friday. The grand reopening celebration from noon to 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday will include specials on selected food items, live entertainment and giveaways.
M&M has been in its current location, Kay said, since about 2005. She said its roots in Las Vegas stretch to 2002, when Tim Gee established at Jones Boulevard and Harmon Avenue an outpost of the Los Angeles restaurant founded by his uncle’s sister, who was known as Mississippi Mary. Kay said Mary first had a restaurant in Mississippi and moved to California.
Kay got involved with the restaurant through her friendship with Gee.
“He basically took me under his wing as a restaurant entrepreneur,” she said. “It was something I had wanted to get into for many years. He showed me how he ran his business. I’m a foodie, so that’s one of the reasons I took after soul food. Why not commit to something I have a passion for?”
Why indeed, and she’s channeled that passion into M&M Soul Food’s new look.
“We painted it brighter colors,” Kay said — turquoise, sunshine yellow and chrome silver. The floor has new dark-brown tile. The oak tables were hand-made and each is topped with a vase of flowers.
“We created more of a country feel,” she said. “A bunch of random decor, positive phrases.” And old-timey accents in the spirit of a Cracker Barrel. But a little bling, too.
“The decor has a lot of rhinestone fixtures,” Kay said.
She said the menu remains much the same, although she’s added chicken-fried chicken, more assorted cakes and weekly specials such as entree salads and the Soul Bowl.
After the weekend celebration, the restaurant’s hours will be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. The new phone number is 725-780-4191. Kay said the location at 2211 Las Vegas Blvd. South is temporarily closed because of construction.