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Southern Bell brings soul food to Hartford in eye-catching red truck

The Southern Bell Soul Food and Catering food truck has been rolling around the Hartford community for eight years.

HARTFORD, Conn. — If the red truck doesn't catch your eye, then hopefully your nose will pick up the aroma of the soul food coming from it. 

The Southern Bell Soul Food and Catering food truck has been rolling around the Hartford community for eight years now.

"I love cooking, I mean, it's my passion, and that's where I find my joy," cheerfully explained owner Tomorra Williams.  

Williams decided to pass that joy along by filling stomachs with her Florida southern roots and home cooking. There's a wide variety of soul food on the menu, including collard greens, fried chicken, candied yams, and more. 

RELATED: Hartford middle school creates food pantry for local students, families

Williams explained that everything on the Southern Bell menu she learned to make from her late grandma, from the ingredients to the technique.

"She would sit in the kitchen, watch my mom make different stuff, and my mom would let her help her," recalled Williams's mother, Gwendolyn Drummond. "So that's where her passion for food came from."

Drummond said soul food is made with love and passion, and that's why she said Williams excels at it. 

"It's the food that brings us together," said Drummond. "Soul food reminds me of generations. You see, her mom taught her, my mom taught me, and I taught Tomorra, and it's great seeing generations bring other generations together through food." 

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It's generations of cultural experiences, memories, and more served up to go. For the past five years, Williams has weaved into the fabric of Hartford through her relationship with the Hartford Yard Goats. 

"I've been with the Yard Goats since the opening season as part of their street vendors that they do bring in periodically," Williams explained.  

She said she works with the Yard Goats program called Hartford Neighborhood Flavor. It helps inner-city teens in the area learn their way around the kitchen. 

"They learn how to cook quick meals after school to kind of be a little independent instead of eating fast food; it's amazing to be a part of it," said Williams.

RELATED: The Russell restaurant brings unique cultural Caribbean experience to Hartford area

Southern Bell Soul Food and Catering also host free community events to unite the neighborhoods in the summertime.

"We host a Father's Day event at Keney Park pond house," Williams explained. "Fathers come and bring their kids, and we have a big fishing derby. So bring your chair, your kids, and family, and have a great time, and we feed everyone." 

While we wait for the Yard Goats season to start, the red truck and good soul food can be found at Keney Park, across from MLK Middle School, on Saturday and Sundays 2 p.m.-9 p.m. In April, Williams says they are open Thursday-Sunday 2 p.m.-9 p.m. 

Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at rharrington@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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