Hidden History: Soul Food and soulmates

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“We produce Caribbean-style burritos, Caribbean, soul food, Mexican – anything you can think of burritos.”

Obi Linton is talking about his pride and joy: Soul Burrito. If you live in the Midstate, you’ve more than likely seen one of his food trucks.

Linton and his wife Nicole started the business in 2008 and gave up their careers to do so. Nicole was a teacher. Obi had spent seven years as a detective for the Baltimore Police Department.

“I was in the process of getting promoted,” Linton said. “I knew it was coming to sergeant, and I knew if I got promoted I wasn’t going to leave. The entrepreneurial spirit in me, I wanted to be my own boss.”

Food has always been their passion. One day Linton was eating a burrito and everything clicked.

“How can we put our spin on it, the whole Caribbean fusion, soul food fusion? Let’s just do it,” he said. “I talked to my wife about it and a week later, I was putting in my papers.”

They decided a food truck was a good start.

“We literally sacrificed everything as far as our careers,” he said, “We had the option to have retirement and all those different things. To give it up for a dream, it was very scary.”

It was a bumpy road at first, but they soon found success in the Midstate.

“We are used to a very diverse area; culturally diverse, spiritually diverse, all types of religions and backgrounds,” he said, “When we came to Harrisburg, it was a direct reflection of where we’re from.”

Nicole Linton says the key is their authenticity.

“With the incorporation of all those different flavors and the things we like to eat and serve ourselves, we decided to bring that to Soul Burrito,” she said.

But it’s about more than just taste.

“Soul Burrito to me is an experience,” Obi Linton said, “When people come to our truck, they hear about it. We want to give them an experience.”

“If you don’t know about it, you’re gonna find out,” said Nicole, “And if you find out, you’re gonna love it.”

The Lintons hope their story inspires others.

“As an African American-owned business, it’s important for people who look like us or other minorities as well as others to see that you can do this too,” Obi Linton said.

Soul Burrito has grown into one of the Midstate’s most popular food trucks.     

“The soul in Soul Burrito is us,” Obi Linton said. “We believe we were made for each other. It’s kind of cheesy, but I feel like we’re soulmates, and that’s actually where the word soul comes into play.”

Ten years later, their love for each other and their business continues to grow.

For more information on Soul Burrito, visit www.soulburrito.com.

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