Say you're walking down the street on your way to lunch when you topple from your 3-inch wedges. You land on your backside and lie there for a moment, thinking, I'm turning into my mother, before you gather yourself and walk tall—even as you feel a little low—into your destination: Sister Pee Wee's Soul Food in Logan Heights.
A regular customer enters moments later and returns your cell phone, which he found on the sidewalk where you'd been lying moments earlier. This right here is the reason Sister Pee Wee has been in business for more than 50 years: community.
The food is delicious, authentic soul food. But the real feeding of the soul comes from the heart of this establishment's beloved namesake. Sister Pee Wee will call you "baby" and "sweetheart" as she feeds you; you'll want to cry even if you didn't skin your knee. And the woman was leaning in long before it was cool: Barbara "Pee Wee" Harris raised eight kids and her grandson, Christopher, while working the counter during the day and doing shift work as a nurse.
"If you're hungry, and you got nothin'," Christopher says, "she'll fix you a plate. Doesn't matter who you are, that's just who she is."
Her shop (2971 Imperial Ave.) is but a lunch counter with seating for about a dozen; the daily menu is scrawled on a grease board. All meals are $10 and include a drink, giant portions of the day's sides—greens, rice, mac 'n' cheese—and a slab of cornbread. Doors open at around 11:30 a.m., and when the foodís gone, it's gone. You'll leave full and happy and in pole position to pay it forward.