Cubby’s reopens under new ownership, with a lot of soul

Cubby's, the famed Auburn Way South eatery that closed three years ago after decades of declining business, has reopened under new ownership.

Cars and trucks slowly circle, heads turn from side to side, eyeballs do the back and forth and up and down.

And if you listen closely, you can almost hear the people inside those vehicles say, “It’s open again? For real? Cubby’s?”

For real.

The famed Auburn Way South eatery, which closed three years ago after years of declining business, reopened two weeks ago under new ownership.

And with a new name — Serious Soul@Cubby’s.

The name, Rod and Diona Brady concede, mixes some people up. But the new owners are more than happy to clarify.

“People who come in here get confused about the name, Serious Soul,” said Rod Brady. “My wife’s a Christian, and that’s where the name comes from. She loves Christ. So that’s where she got the name from. People think ‘soul food’ as just ethnic food, but it’s American comfort food.”

So, what is this comfort food?

For starters, of course, there are burgers and fries. Wouldn’t be any form of Cubby’s without burgers. Made from fresh ground beef. With all the trimmings.

Doesn’t get much more American than that. But there’s more to American comfort food than just burgers

The Bradys, he and she, want to give people an old-fashioned, mom-and-pop alternative to the big burger joints and other fast-food chains.

They want their customers to lay a lip over macaroni and cheese, sink their teeth into beef brisket, ribs, fresh catfish, red beans and rice, pulled pork, fried chicken, collard greens. They want their customers to gobble up home-baked cornbread and old-school cakes, sip lemonade and sweet tea.

All made from scratch on the premises from the freshest ingredients, they say.

“Everyone eats fried chicken, everyone eats mac and cheese, everyone eats red beans and rice,” said Rod Brady. “These are good old American staples. This is what we were raised on. I don’t know who wrote the book and started saying this is for this culture and that is for that culture.”

“We want to bring some of that homestyle food to the area,” added Diona Brady. “To give people an alternative to the fast-food restaurants, the chains. That’s why we call it Serious Soul. It’s more about food from the heart. Not so much soul food and the South, but comfort food. It’s the good home cooking that people miss.”

Diona Brady, a Renton native and 1981 Hazen High School graduate, has been in the restaurant business for more than 30 years. She opened her first restaurant, Serious Soul, in Federal Way six years ago and it’s still going. Rod Brady, a California native, comes from a farming family.

The Bradys and their kids have gone to great pains to restore the restaurant to the way it once looked to generations of Auburnites.

“We had to do a lot of cleaning, a lot of cleaning. And as you can see, we’ve put it back the way Cubby’s was. We put the wood veneers back. We tried to use warm colors. We retrofitted the lighting, just put new elements in and put them back up,” said Rod Brady.

“Cubby’s is an Auburn landmark, so we’re bringing American comfort food to Auburn. You can come in here and get the great food. One of the things we want to bring to Auburn is for Auburn to be one of the best spots for food. We want people to say, ‘We’re beating Federal Way, we’re beating Seattle.’ Seattle has all these high-end restaurants, but we want folks to come to Auburn and say, ‘Auburn’s better than that. Come to Auburn, we’ll clean your clock with our brisket sandwich.'” Rod Brady said.

The restaurant’s hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.