First Look: Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours

At her restaurant’s new Westside headquarters, Twisted Soul Chef Deborah VanTrece spices up Southern soul food with global influences.

Twisted Soul was originally in Decatur. How is its new home different?
This location is ours, from A to Z. It’s our lease; it’s our design. We were able to add little touches to the other space, and it worked for the concept we had then, but with this space, we gutted it out and made it exactly the way we wanted it to be.

How would you define the character and design of the new westside location?
It would be my idea of a modern-day cookhouse. I wanted to hone in on old Southern cooks—not so much professionals as the cooks and their classic Southern recipes. We wanted to do something that was still pretty urban and modern but still comfortable—that barn look, with reclaimed wood and metal, but not too industrial. I wanted a country-meets-sophistication feel.

That’s certainly a quintessentially Southern aesthetic.
Yes. Actually, my decorator, who does all my florals, did an event here, and I said, “Just do something that makes sense for us.” He made the floral designs out of collard greens and roses. And when I saw it, I was like, “That’s exactly what it is. It’s collard greens and roses.”

What changes can guests expect to see on the menu?
For the most part, we’ve stayed true to what I do, which melds country cooking with different cultures, but I think we’re taking more chances than we did before—like with our oxtail. I like to take cuisines I’ve experienced when traveling or meeting people from other cultures and twisting it a little bit to make it Southern, to make it mine.

What’s your next project?
I’m starting to work on a cookbook. We want it to be a reflection of not just food, but of entertaining in general. I love being a hostess; I love planning what the table should look like, what the florals need to be like, what china we should use. I want it to reflect a lifestyle of entertaining and cooking, and enjoying friends and family.