Best of Phoenix

Downtown Barbecue Standout Rhema Soul Cuisine Closing Sunday

Alas, downtown Phoenix is losing barbecue like this; Rhema Soul Cuisine announced it is closing Sunday.
Alas, downtown Phoenix is losing barbecue like this; Rhema Soul Cuisine announced it is closing Sunday. Jacob Tyler Dunn

click to enlarge Alas, downtown Phoenix is losing barbecue like this; Rhema Soul Cuisine announced it is closing Sunday. - JACOB TYLER DUNN
Alas, downtown Phoenix is losing barbecue like this; Rhema Soul Cuisine announced it is closing Sunday.
Jacob Tyler Dunn
Downtown Phoenix is losing one of its barbecue treasures after only a short stay.

Rhema Soul Cuisine, winner of the Best of Phoenix nod for Best Soul Food, will close on Sunday, October 28, the restaurant owners announced Thursday.

"We have inherited a plethora of problems in this old building and it’s beginning to affect our health due to high levels of stress," owners Ron and Via Childs said in an email to Phoenix New Times.  "After our hiatus, we are potentially looking into a food truck."

The restaurant only recently moved to Phoenix after almost four years in Queen Creek. New Times food critic Chris Malloy also recently named Rhema one of the 10 best barbecue restaurants in the Valley.


"Rhema is the rare barbecue restaurant where you feel like you’re in someone’s home," Malloy wrote. "It’s a place where, though you may never understand boors who nitpick restaurant service, you see and feel the other side: How a warm, genuine atmosphere can improve things. Even barbecue."

But the owners said they couldn't overcome problems — flooding, plumbing, and electrical among others, they said — with the old building they leased at the corner of 12th and Jefferson streets.

"We have to revamp the whole thing and start over fresh," Via Childs said. 
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Stuart Warner is editor of New Times. He has been a journalist since the stoned ages of 1969, playing a major role on teams that won three Pulitzer Prizes. He is also the author of the biography JOCK: A Coach's Story.
Contact: Stuart Warner