Soul Shack

MondayClosed.

Tuesday11:30 am – 3:00 pm, 4:30 – 8:00 pm.

Wednesday11:30 am – 3:00 pm, 4:30 – 8:00 pm.

Thursday11:30 am – 3:00 pm, 4:30 – 8:00 pm.

Friday11:30 am – 3:00 pm, 4:30 – 8:00 pm.

Saturday12:00 – 3:00 pm, 4:00 – 8:00 pm.

Sunday12:00 – 5:00 pm.

38 Dixon Street, Te Aro

Ask any Wellingtonian where to get the best fried chicken and chances are they’ll point you in Soul Shack’s direction. Rick Unuia’s Nashville-style outfit is both a David and a Goliath in the capital’s takeaway scene - a small scrapper housed in a cosy central city nook, but with a fierce, formidable fan base that belies its size.

The shop front’s cute neon signage invites punters in from those chilly Wellington nights, before they’re immediately embraced by the waft of fried chicken against the backdrop of lively kitchen banter. It’s a space that has been purposefully designed to be intimate and interactive, with the crew and the customers separated only by the countertop. There’s a handful of seats inside and it’s definitely a grab-and-go type of place, although it’s hard to resist trying the Street Fighter machine in the corner before you leave.

A giant chicken decal and the menu are the only things adorning the clean white walls, which offer a contrast against the bustle of the kitchen. Soul Shack is mostly about keeping things small and simple, and this is reflected in the succinct menu. Choose from the renowned sando or three-wing pack, picking your level of spice (level 4 if you dare). Keep your eyes peeled for regular specials too - the Philly cheese steak is always snapped up in no time when it makes an appearance.

Pop over to Soul Shack and you’ll walk away not just with a content - if slightly burning - stomach, but also the feeling that this is one of the most genuine and down-to-earth eateries in town. Rick says his operation is a celebration of the American soul food that inspires it, and he deftly conflates those roots with his own local touches. Simply put, he’s out to serve the food he likes to enjoy himself, and no doubt you’ll find it enjoyable too.

Words by John Son & Photography by Anna Briggs

38 Dixon Street, Te Aro

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