Michigan’s Best Local Eats: Flint-area restaurant cooks up collard greens, lamb chops and gumbo made with love

MT. MORRIS TWP, MI — A soul food eatery that makes its food with love and aims to give the euphoric feeling that washes over you when tasting your grandmother’s cooking, is eager to serve the Flint community and beyond.

BJ and Noon’s BBQ and Soul Food Restaurant, G5034 Clio Road, in Mt. Morris Township, opened in October 2020 with a menu focused on the comfort food that could be found in your grandmother’s sacred kitchen.

Some items on the menu include lamb chops, ribs, rib tips, gumbo and pork chops.

Meals can be paired with side dishes such as collard greens, macaroni and cheese or candied yams.

“Our soul food is just like home soul food,” co-owner Angela Ratcliff said. “I mean every ingredient that you would cook at home is just like what soul food tastes (like) here at BJ and Noon’s, just like grandma’s.”

The top sellers on the menu are the pork chops, lamb chops and collard greens.

The pork chops are smothered with gravy, onions and served over a bed of rice.

When Ratcliff was asked to explain how the pork chops and gravy tastes, it was simply unexplainable. In lieu of words, she let out a jovial sound of satisfaction.

Ratcliff, who also goes by Noon, said an important ingredient to making soul food is love.

The lamb chops are prepared with a sweet glaze.

And the collard greens? Well, they’re made in a special way, too, but without any meat.

The absence of meat has customers often perplexed, co-owner BJ Fleming admitted with satisfaction.

The meals at the eatery are prepared with a mix of recipes from Ratcliff’s grandmother, who is from Mississippi, and Fleming’s grandmother and mother, who taught him how to cook when he was a child.

A Flint native and graduate of Flint Northwestern High School, Fleming has been cooking for 40 years.

“I wanted to bring some BBQ and some soul food, but she (Ratcliff) had a whole different look at the soul food,” Fleming said, adding the menu also offers handmade hamburgers and more.

This past week, the business saw an influx of new customers, ones who had never stepped foot into the establishment, but were influenced by word of mouth reviews from other customers.

That sparked joy in Fleming, and it’s the feeling that got him into this industry, he said.

“I get joy out of it to be able to serve the community,” he said. “It’s good to see people come in the door with a smile on their face, expecting us to give them the greatest meal they ever had, that’s what it is.”

Ratcliff experiences that same joy.

“It feels so spectacular,” Ratcliff said. “The love that I have for Flint. Everybody says: ‘Flint is this, Flint is that, I’m ready to move.’ But, basically, you don’t know the stuff that’s going on somewhere else. Deal with your own town, make it a family thing.”

The hours of operation for the business are noon to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays and noon to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays.

Customers call 810-820-7369 to place an order.

To learn more about BJ and Noon’s BBQ and Soul Food Restaurant, visit its Facebook page here.

Would you like MLive to feature your restaurant in Michigan’s Best Local Eats? Send the details, including business name, address and most popular menu item, to Isis Simpson-Mersha at [email protected].

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