From serving up Southern comfort-food classics at 4 Tha Soul Restaurant, which opened in February, to helping folks better their mental health, husband-and-wife team Dartagka and Domonika Tipton are nourishing the souls of Lansing residents from the inside out. For this week’s New in Town, I had a chance to talk to Dartagka Tipton about the couple’s new restaurant, their other businesses and what it all means for the people of Lansing.
How’d you meet your wife? What’s it like being business partners?
Dartagka Tipton: I can only credit God for helping me meet my wife. It’s difficult to find someone who’s completely supportive of your dreams and goals, so to work alongside her is amazing.
When we aren’t in the restaurant, my wife and I run Uplift & Inspire Counseling and Consulting, a private mental health practice on South Cedar Street in Lansing. Our staff is composed of a large range of therapists with different specializations who are willing to help patients create a healing-focused treatment plan. We offer in-person and telehealth sessions and online resources to those seeking help. Those who are interested in receiving any of our services can email us at email@example.com or stop into our office from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday or 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
In September, we will also be opening Great Lakes Fingerprinting. This organization will also be located on Cedar Street and will provide even more services to help the Lansing community. Fingerprinting for non-Department of Transportation jobs, drug-screening services and a notary will be available for residents of the Greater Lansing area.
What inspired you to start cooking? What inspires you to continue cooking?
My great-grandmother inspired me to start cooking. She adopted me at the age of 6, and I spent the majority of my childhood sitting in her kitchen and watching her cook. As I got older, my love for cooking grew, and that’s when I started experimenting with different meals.
What inspires me to keep cooking is the look I see on a customer’s face when they taste the food. I know I make great food, and seeing customers agree makes me even more confident. Some people may see that as cockiness, but I see it as confidence. I’m confident that we are making great food that gives people a better understanding of our mission to bring great soul food to the area.
Where does the name ‘4 Tha Soul’ come from?
The name of our restaurant comes from how we want our customers to feel after eating our food. Regardless of what’s on your plate, we want customers to be able to take a bite, close their eyes and feel like their soul is being fed. If you don’t close your eyes and start reminiscing after taking a bite of our food, we’re not doing our job.
What’s your favorite item on the menu at 4 Tha Soul?
There’s a lot of tasty food on our menu, so it’s hard for me to choose. To be honest, my favorite menu item is something we only bring out on special occasions. The Tuscan Salmon is a pan-fried salmon filet that’s smothered in creamy garlic butter, spinach and sun-dried tomato sauce and served alongside a bed of rice. It’s amazing.
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