Soul Food War?

Thanks go to DCist "staff emeritus" Kanishka for bringing up the delightful possibility of a soul food showdown in the U Street corridor. It appears that the reigning champ of all foods soulful, Oohhs and Aahhs, is getting some competition in the neighborhood.

The opening of Brown Sugar (pictured above) at 928 U St. NW. slipped past me, I'm not even sure how long ago. The take-out joint has a small dine-in area and trumpets its "old school" jumbo fish sandwiches with a prominent neon sign in the front window. It appeared to be doing a brisk breakfast business last time I passed by.

And next weekend, A Taste of Carolina will open its doors at 1930 Ninth St. NW in the space once occupied by Sodere. The restaurant is planning a two-day open house of sorts, offering samples of food, drink specials and giveaways on Friday and Saturday. But unlike the soul food competition a few blocks north, the 70-seat restaurant is expected to be more upscale. "This is soul food in a fine dining environment," owner Walter Bowman, a South Carolina native, said in a release.

On April 7 from noon to 2 p.m., Taste of Carolina will be offering food samples, tours of the restaurant, giveaways and South Carolina trivia games. Drink specials and dessert sampling starts at 6 p.m. On Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. will be more of the same. On the menu: Spartanburg barbecue bibs, Myrtle Beach whiting, Orangeburg fried chicken and Savannah river trout.

Whether this all amounts to a true soul food showdown or, more benignly, just good news for fans of Southern cooking remains to be seen, but let the collard slinging begin!