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Brooklyn eatery serves soul food — and food for the soul

[July 20, 2020: AP News]

Growing up in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Kiana Muschett-Owes treasured one spot above all: the family’s round dining table. There, family members would gather to recount their days, debate issues, celebrate any occasion they could think of — and of course, to eat.

Along with basic nourishment, the table provided sustenance for the soul, says Muschett-Owes. She’s tried to replicate that feeling at her own restaurant, Katie O’s, which she launched six years ago in nearby Prospect Lefferts Gardens, specializing in soul food.

And now, she’s trying to give a little of both — soul food, and food for the soul — back to her community, amidst a pandemic that has exposed just how easy it is to go hungry in New York.

Each weekend, Muschett-Owes distributes between 1,000 and 1,500 meals to Brooklyn’s needy, accompanied by uplifting notes tucked into the boxes, with prayers or thoughts like “We’ll get through this” or “What doesn’t kill you will build you.” She also asks questions: how are people doing, whether they’ve lost their jobs. “This isn’t just, ‘grab your food and go,’” she says.

A former school guidance counselor, Muschett-Owes, 40, opened Katie O’s with money and inspiration from her late grandparents, Eugene and Dolores Owes. She chose the name — her own pet name — when she learned “The Round Table” was... MORE



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