Soul Snacks Cafe marches to the beat of a new drum

Ralph Rolle (left c) along with supporters during Soul Snacks Cafe’s grand opening.
Fernando Justiniano

A corner in Westchester Square is getting sweeter and sweeter by the minute.

Soul Snacks Café at 2707 E. Tremont Avenue is serving up some of the borough’s best baked goods with plenty of other appetizing entrées since its grand opening on Saturday, August 17.

Besides some of the sweetest chocolate chip cookies you ever tasted, there’s buffalo chicken sliders and plenty of additional mouth watering delights. Soul Snacks brings a beat that others just simply cannot.

It’s owned by renowned Bronx entrepeneur and drummer Ralph Rolle, best known for his work with the funk-era band Chic, along with many other notable funk acts.

Rolle’s musical history and current endeavors are displayed throughout the café, including photos ensconced with celebrities like Nile Rodgers to credentials from festivals, especially Glastonbury in 2017, while other momentos capture the wide breathe of his musical career.

Rodgers, a great friend of Rolle’s, hasn’t made his way into Soul Snacks just yet due to some recording sessions in London, England, but he plans to shortly.

Rolle says that putting on a musical show and serving food, particularly his new, delectable sweet potato cookies, are essentially the same thing.

“Either way you’re putting on a performance,” Rolle explained, mentioning that his love for cooking came from his mother Rose Rolle while they were living in Bronx River Houses during his adolescence. As a matter of fact, there’s no chili that compares to his mom’s, according to the celebrity drummer. Hence why Rolle won’t include chili on his Soul Snacks Café menu.

Though, that menu is filled with plenty of other unique options that few others offer, such as oxtail.

“Have you ever even had oxtail?” Rolle rhetorically asked. For those readers that haven’t had the privilege of tasting oxtail at Soul Snacks, its taste is best described as a beef, pork and chicken hybrid that slides off the bone when cooked and is best served with white rice and cabbage.

On the culinary side of things, Rolle is best known for his cookie brand, Soul Snacks Cookie Company, which he created at the Bronx River Houses in 1996 and has been operating out of Hunts Point since.

The café serves as an opportunity for Rolle to expand beyond dessert while also keeping it as a staple of his menu, the drummer explained.

His next plan is to install an ice cream bar where guests can select two different flavors of cookies to make ice cream sandwiches, which needless to say will become a cold, hot commodity of the east Bronx.

While handling the opening of new café, Rolle remains active in his music career as well.

Currently, he’s pursuing the ambition of bringing a drum corps back to the Bronx, like the one that Rolle played in while growing up in addition to working on some rhythmically electric dance tracks. “That’s next on my list,” Rolle said, mentioning that after the hopeful success of Soul Snacks Café, he envisions sitting alongside a backyard fire pit with his wife and simply relaxing.

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