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New Restaurants Food+Drink

Red Coal BBQ + Chekell’s SoulFood Palace = Southside Soul

one family restaurant’s new location gives way to another family restaurant’s new beginnings

Rebecca Mennecke, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

DREAM COME TRUE.
DREAM COME TRUE. General Manager of Red Coal BBQ in Eau Claire Joe Lundquist says in the three years since he's started working at Red Coal, he's found a tight-knit sense of community, and it's the reason he continues to stay in Eau Claire. 

The new location of Red Coal BBQ Family Restaurant at 2235 N. Clairemont Ave. is the perfect representation of what a community can accomplish when they work together.

Owner Brian Moskiewicz even calls it “a dream come true.”

And, in the month since they made the move from their previous location at 2839 Mall Dr., the kind-hearted people behind the business have shown their true colors when it came to supporting another family restaurant – Chekell’s SoulFood Palace.

Food from Red Coal BBQ
Food from Red Coal BBQ

After a catering event fell through, Red Coal BBQ ran a drive-thru event to sell the leftover food, with all proceeds going to benefit Chekell’s so they could build a permanent brick-and-mortar location, as the Chicago-style eatery has been operating out of The Nucleus since it launched in February. Over 600 people showed up, Moskiewicz said, with cars lining up around their new building.

“There were definitely a few tears shed of just joy and happiness to be seeing a community come together and show love and support for one another,” said Antoine Hill, co-owner of Chekell’s SoulFood Palace. “Which, that – ultimately – should be what it’s all about: It should be about love, support for one another, to try to be the best that we all can be.”

Food from Red Coal BBQ
Food from Red Coal BBQ

Red Coal BBQ’s new location features breakfast (including biscuits and gravy, eggs benedict, a Texas Ranger skillet, and Early Bird Curds) and a more family-friendly vibe, owners say. Chekell Hill and Moskiewicz – friends so close they consider each other family – came from opposite sides of Chicago: Hill the Southside, and Moskiewicz from the north side. Their love of Chicago eats – and their tight-knit approach to business – led them to launch a new combined business, Southside Soul, which will be located at the former Red Coal location on Mall Drive. The eatery will feature a sports-bar atmosphere, complete with eats like Italian beef, gyros, Philly cheesesteaks, catfish wings, and – still to be determined – Chicago-style pizza.

Food from Chekell's SoulFood Palace
Food from Chekell's SoulFood Palace

Most importantly, owners Moskiewicz and Chekell Hill plan to bring their family-first, community-integrated approach to this new venture, which opens on Aug. 1. “It’s our passion,” said general manager of Red Coal BBQ Joe Lundquist. “It’s what we do.” Thanks to support from the Pablo Center, Pablo Group, and Uniting Bridges, the new business – extremely uncommon in the often competitive barbecue restaurant field – will be the perfect place to catch a Bucks or Brewers game (or the Blackhawks, if you’re a Chicago native like Hill and Moskiewicz), or listen to local live music – something the owners have been desperately missing in recent months.

Chekell Hill of Chekell's SoulFood Palace
Chekell Hill of Chekell's SoulFood Palace

“It feels great,” said Antoine Hill.“This is probably one of the happiest (moments) of my life... We’re still smiling.”

But for now, the Red Coal BBQ team is excited about their fresh start in a new location, getting to know their community, and serving up smiles with every great plate of food.