CHERYL STRAUGHTER (Chef) had a 10-year run with Keith’s Place, a popular Grove Hall eatery that she opened in 1996 to bring sit-down meals to the neighborhood.
Following that venture, Straughter began a 12-year odyssey that has in many ways brought her back to where she started.
After closing Keith’s Place, she enrolled in Johnson and Wales University’s culinary arts program, learning the intricacies of cooking and food preparation. She went on to work as a recruiter for the school. When her mother developed advanced Alzheimer’s disease, she returned to Boston to take care of her, while taking classes nights at Simmons College, where she earned a master’s of social work.
Next, she worked for three-and-a-half years at Future Chefs, a nonprofit that uses food service training to help teens gain academic and professional skills.
When Straughter learned last year that one of the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building’s restaurant spaces, then occupied by Tasty Burger, was soon to be vacant, she jumped at the opportunity.
In opening Soleil in the Bolling Building, Straughter is returning both to the food business and to Nubian Square, a commercial district that figured prominently in her childhood.