It’s a bright, sunny day when Ms. Neal takes a seat in the store room of her establishment to talk about her soul food restaurant Auntie Betty’s, 19601 Grand River in Minock Park. All around people can be heard coming in to pick up their orders and the small staff can be seen bustling about. This is your neighborhood soul food go-to, with a twist- it’s healthy.
Betty Neal has been in the food business for over a decade, and in her building for 9 ½ years. It started out as a way for she and her sister to earn income when the phone company where Betty worked cut her hours in the early nineties. About the same time, Neal’s marriage ended. It was a time of change, and cooking for people helped. “It just kept me busy. I needed something to do and I needed the money.” When she went back to work full-time for the phone company, the passion for cooking didn’t abate. “[Going back to work] was supposed to be just a temporary thing, because they were closing an office, but I ended up staying for 7 more years.” Neal says she continued to provide meals on the side to a growing client base. Eventually, the people who sampled her work encouraged her to get a business license so that she could sell at fairs and events. This license included purchasing a building and getting accredited to sell food formally. “It didn’t take long, once I found the building.” Finally, after securing the building, bringing it up to code, and getting a food license, Betty opened the doors officially and has been serving Northwest Detroit ever since. Assisted by her nephew Marcus and a handful of other staff, Auntie Betty’s boasts a menu of healthy soul food for your enjoyment.
Stop by during regular business hours: Tuesday-Thursday 11:30am-10pm, Friday-Saturday 11:30am-10:30pm, and Sunday 1pm-9:30pm. To call in an order, simply call 313-537-6050.
Betty Neal and her nephew Marcus.