After snags with the drinks and divas required for a proper gospel brunch forced Where Ya At Matt to postpone its first stab at the Southern-tinged event, the food truck has finalized its line-up for the Feb. 26 party.
Gospel brunches -- a Sunday morning mash-up of culinary and cultural tourism -- may have originated in Harlem, where visitors have long flocked to immerse themselves in African-American culture. Institutions such as Sylvia's, Copeland's and the Cotton Club have for decades been offering praise song-and-fried chicken extravaganzas, a commercial version of the standard Sunday ritual of supping with the family after church.
But the genre is now strongly associated with the House of Blues. Although its gospel brunches haven't fared equally well in every city -- Dallas suspended its brunch program when attendance slumped -- New Orleans has not surprisingly taken to the tradition of combining food and music.
Music at the Seattle brunch will be provided by Robin Henderson and Angela Shields, who's worked in a variety of styles, but is focusing on spiritual music for her upcoming debut CD. Shields in 2007 won the Shirley Caesar competition, and has sung alongside gospel great Caesar. Henderson, of Spanaway's Deliverance Bible Church, has twice won the International Tract Ministry's female gospel soloist award since 2009. She's been featured on four Gospel Music Workshop of America albums.
The menu for the brunch, now scheduled for Nectar Lounge in Fremont, is unchanged: Matt Lewis will be serving creole eggs benedict; fish and grits; biscuits and gravy; hush puppies and bacon. But he's adding cocktails from Ian Cargill, who will be mixing brunch classics and drinks of his own devising.
"You can't have a gospel brunch without bloody Marys and mimosas," Lewis says.