Minty’s Place: Old Soul, New Food
By Tracey F. Johns
Dorchester County restaurant offers delicious comfort food with Southern charm
“I go to prepare a place for you.” Harriet Tubman’s last words resonate for Teresa Lamar, visionary and owner of Minty’s Place, a new restaurant bringing Southern comfort food, hospitality, and charm to Locust Street in Cambridge. Most importantly, this place — Minty’s Place — pays homage to Dorchester County’s Araminta “Minty” Ross. Minty was born into slavery and became known around the world by her free name, Harriet Tubman, for her brave leadership on the Underground Railroad.
Teresa says the location — the long-vacant, 1930s building where Hyser’s Confectionery once operated — blurs the line between traditionally black and white neighborhoods and is now a place prepared to welcome all. Since opening on October 25 of last year, she says the restaurant serves as a gathering place to find great food and a place to receive love and kindness.
“Our guests like the spirit this place was built on,” said Teresa, who has invested more than four years in making her dream of owning a restaurant come true. “Divinely, I believe this is what I’m supposed to be doing.”
She says the restaurant’s name evolved over several ideations. “At first, it was going to be Sweet Teas, with the first glass on me. Then it was Minty’s Cabin, Minty’s House, and then I thought, wait a minute, this is Minty’s Place. I only discovered later how Harriet’s legacy included that sense of place in her last words.”
As soon as you walk in the door, Teresa or staff graciously welcome you. The open kitchen greets you with the delicious aromas of barbecue, fried chicken, and the day’s specials. The décor is light and fresh, adding to the feelings of comfort and home. Numerous dining areas offer plenty of spaces for large groups and individual diners, with seating for up to 88 guests.
Outside includes a large, lighted seating area and barbecue pit open in the warmer months, with year-round inside dining areas including booths, tables, and a bar with perfect views to watch the Executive Chef prepare his culinary specialties. We tried a delicious Creole pasta special — pasta in a delicate Cajun cream sauce, with fried shrimp, fresh sautéed greens, smoked Gouda and jalapeno for a lovely touch of heat.
Top left: Mrs. Harriet’s spicy pasta with Cajun shrimp; top right: Minty’s skillet cheesecake brownie; middle: Minty’s bean burger lettuce wrap (left) and underground crab cake sandwich served with Minty’s skillet macaroni and cheese; bottom left: Dorchester salad topped with fried tilapia; bottom right: Moses’ buttermilk fried chicken and waffles.
Teresa says growing up as one of 10 children with deep roots on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, she has always loved to cook and serve meals since a little girl. Now, those treasured traditions and recipes bring items on Minty’s menu to the mouths of many, including a delicious version of baked beans, made with a variety of beans including black beans, and hints of cinnamon and honey.
Using ingredients sourced from local Amish and farmer’s markets means the menu carries farm freshness right to your plate. Underground Railroad Fish & Grits, for example, includes trout as the catch this time of year — delivered directly to Minty’s fresh, never frozen — and served lightly fried or grilled with Minty’s cheesy grits. Other signature dishes include Moses Chicken and Waffles, and the Emancipation Burger served with dry slaw, cheddar cheese, a mini turkey-burger slider, and a grilled pickle. Vegan options include flavorful, smoky collard greens, and warmer months expand the menu with more barbecue options.
Not-to-miss are the sweet tea and lemon whipping cream pound cake, as part of this place and the Southern comfort dining experience Teresa Lamar has prepared for us. You can also try the house-made barbecue sauces, including a spicy, gingery Bam-Bam sauce, and another made with molasses and cinnamon called Sweet, Sweet Moses. Bottled beer and wine by the glass are available, with the full menu and hours posted at mintysplace.com.
Above: Teresa unpacks fresh locally grown greens. Iced Tea is served in mason jars; Top right: Teresa poses with Harriett Tubman’s direct descendants: Rose Banks, Peggy Ross (direct descendant of Harriet Tubman), Demetrius Jones, and Chenel Jones; Right: homey dining room interior with folk art decor; Below right: The mayor of Cambridge, Victoria Jackson-Stanley with Teresa Lamar
A family-friendly restaurant in historic Cambridge, Minty’s Place is located where Hyser’s used to be. The building was purchased, renovated, and renamed in honor of Araminta “Minty” Ross, later known as Harriet Tubman, who was born in Dorchester County. (Araminta did not take the name “Harriet” until she married John Tubman.) If you wish to learn more about Minty’s history, visit HarrietTubman.com.
Address: 824 Locust Street, Cambridge
Web site: mintysplace.com
Hours: Open Thurs., Fri., Sat. from 11:30 a.m. -8:30 p.m.; Sun. 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; Closed Mon., Tues., Wed., and the 2nd and 4th Sundays each month