By Elizabeth Nealon
Fried seafood is a great comfort food in the dregs of winter and a perfect seasonal snack during the warmer months, and that is exactly what Millie Peartree Fish Fry and Soul Food (MP) offers.
The new (-ish) Southern comfort food joint on Grand Concourse lies just past the D train subway entrance, which makes it a perfect location to stop and grab lunch or dinner on the way home from the city or before heading in.
Upon entering MP’s, the smell of Old Bay seasoned fries intoxicates and intrigues, especially those who are new to Southern style cooking. A perfect spring pick-me-up, the fried shrimp and whiting fish are crispy and fresh. MP’s is so heavily visited that every dish is essentially made to order five feet from the counter. The perpetual crackle of the fry oil and the odor of the candied yams and Old Bay seasoning mingles in the best way possible.
While the space is not big, it allows enough room to hang out while your order is prepared, however, the restaurant is not a sit-down establishment. Instead of looking for a place to sit, Millie Peartree, the owner and operator of Millie Peartree Fish Fry and Soul Food, said, “There’s no pressure, you. You don’t have to have your hair done. It’s a small spot, you can take it home or eat in the car.” The grab-and-go style and low price point of MP Fish Fry and Soul Food makes it the perfect spot for Fordham students trying to escape the regular options.
Peartree started her culinary career as a personal chef before transitioning to the catering business. In an interview with Bridget Shirvell for Edible Bronx, Peartree said, “People have always wanted to try my cuisine, but of course not everybody can afford to do a huge event. So, I always thought that a great next step would be to give everybody access to the food by opening up a restaurant.”
Peartree, who has always had a deep concern for others, took on the primary care-giving role in her family after the tragic loss of her mother to colon cancer in 2006. At the time, her younger siblings, two of whom have autism, looked to Peartree for emotional support. “I needed an outlet to cope with our loss,” Peartree said, and so she began to channel her energy into cooking and baking.
What had always been a passion for Peartree became her main source of income after she was laid off from what she called her nine-to-five. Luckily, Peartree had devoted time to building a client base before being laid-off from her former job, and she was able to handle the transition well. Her business savvy charisma goes farther than her brilliant foresight; she managed to save enough money to open Millie Peartree Fish Fry and Soul Food without investors, loans, partners or experience. The passion that Peartree has for her food and for her restaurant shows through her product.
Kayla Stacy, FCRH ’20, said, “I would give this place a 10/10.” The fried fish, chicken wings and jumbo shrimp are all popped right out of the fryer and onto the plate, so crispiness is guaranteed. The side of mac and cheese and collard greens are perfect complements to the fried options, but the corn muffins steal the show. The tiny, buttery muffins pack a punch with their rich, sweet flavor and moistness. Each order contains enough food for two servings.
Her dedication to her restaurant means that Peartree looks for enthusiastic and friendly staff who will represent her brand well. The staff could not be more helpful in helping navigate the extensive menu and answering any questions about the establishment. Great music plays while the fryer works its magic on the fish and shrimp, and the staff makes even the wait pleasant.