Soul food restaurant to open second Lehigh Valley location, dish out free children’s lunches

Mark A. Carlson

Craving candy yams, collard greens and other soul food staples?

Good news: Hot Plate Southern Kitchen, offering honey-dipped fried chicken, Cajun shrimp and other Southern fare, will hold a soft opening of its second location 2 p.m. Thursday at 163-165 Main St. in Phillipsburg.

The full-service restaurant will supplement the business’ other area location, which opened in March at 37 S. Ninth St. in downtown Allentown.

Hot Plate favorites include “soul bites” ($.75-$12) such as corn bread, deep-fried cauliflower, salmon croquettes and mac and cheese soul rolls; main dishes (starting at $13.75 and including 2 sides) such as barbecue pork ribs, honey-dipped fried chicken, smothered turkey wings and stewed oxtails; seafood selections (starting at $13.75 and including 2 sides) such as Cajun snow crab legs, barbecue salmon, fried whiting and deep-fried lobster tails with Cajun shrimp; and sides ($3-$5.75) such as Cajun hand-cut fries, fried sweet plantains, sauteed string beans and yellow rice.

A seafood boil, $32.99, includes snow crab legs, shrimp, corn, red potato and sausage.

Other menu highlights include chicken and waffles (peach, sweet potato and plain), homemade juices and lemonades and desserts such as banana pudding, deep-fried apple hand pies and personal sweet potato pies.

Husband and wife T.R. and Mya Burns’ originally operated Hot Plate from December 2017 to August 2019 at 201 E. Third St. in south Bethlehem before briefly operating another now-closed location in Montclair, N.J. late last year.

The couple began Hot Plate as an extension of their ministry where “people’s lives have been changed over chicken, over collard greens and mac and cheese,” T.R. said.

On certain occasions, they even fed families for free and allowed groups to gather in the business’ space for free because they believe there’s “a greater cause” to their operation.

In a video posted Sept. 14 on the business’ Facebook page, T.R. also announced that the business will soon begin offering free hot lunches on Tuesdays to children in need due to effects from the coronavirus pandemic.

Plans include distributing 400 free lunches a month — 50 a week at each location — to children in need at drop-off locations.

The logistics are still being ironed out, but tentative plans call for interested parties to eventually register through a designated area on Hot Plate’s ordering website,

Hot Plate plans to partner with Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley on Hamilton Street in Allentown and a yet-to-be-decided organization in the Easton-Phillipsburg area.

“I’ve been hearing a lot and seeing a lot of the kids that are home, and some of these kids only eat a full meal when they go to school,” T.R. said in the video.

T.R. noted that he’s also been hearing stories of children sitting in parking lots of businesses and other buildings, which offer free WiFi, just to do their homework.

“So, there’s a great disconnect,” he added. “… And we are solutionists. We are here for that. And as God blesses me, I’m going to disperse and help my community and help those around me become better.”

Hot Plate, which is hiring for all positions, including delivery drivers, line cooks, prep cooks, hosts and servers, can be reached at 484-866-4140.


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