Food & dining

Quick Bite

At Family Affair in Dorchester, an opera singer serves up fried chicken and red velvet waffles

Family Affair in Dorchester’s Uphams Corner serves fried chicken and red velvet waffles.
Lane Turner/Globe Staff
Family Affair in Dorchester’s Uphams Corner serves fried chicken and red velvet waffles.

Where To: Family Affair, serving soul food and Caribbean cooking in Dorchester’s Uphams Corner.

Why: For fried chicken and red velvet waffles, oxtail dinners, and a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.

The Back Story: This is chef-owner Jermaine Tulloch’s first restaurant, and a career switch for the former educator. A Dorchester native, he attended Boston Arts Academy and Longy School of Music, where he studied opera, going on to perform with groups including the Harlem Gospel Choir. He then became a music and special-education teacher in the Boston public schools from which he graduated. (If you make it to an event, like a recent sold-out Paint Night, you might even catch him performing.) Family Affair was a catering company first, and now it’s a restaurant with counter service and a few tables and booths. Jermaine’s mother, Hulda Tulloch, holds down the Caribbean side of the menu in the kitchen. She’s originally from Montserrat in the British West Indies.

Chef-owner Jermaine Tulloch and his mom, Hulda Tulloch, operate Family Affair in Dorchester’s Uphams Corner.
Lane Turner/Globe Staff
Chef-owner Jermaine Tulloch and his mom, Hulda Tulloch, operate Family Affair in Dorchester’s Uphams Corner.

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What to Eat: There are appetizers like crab rangoon rolls; dinners of fried porgy, mango coconut shrimp, BBQ ribs, and curry chicken; sides of mac and cheese, candied yams, rice and peas, cabbage; and a case of desserts. But at every table, there seems to be at least one person eating chicken and waffles out of a takeout pizza box. Each order includes a thigh and a drumstick, and waffles can be upgraded from plain to red velvet or apple pie. There’s also a specials board, constantly changing. On a recent visit, it included a “fish sammich” with fries, Nutella-chocolate chicken and waffles, steak and cheese eggrolls, and apple pie rolls. That last, sweet apple pie filling in a crisp spring-roll skin, is a special only in theory: It’s been so popular, Tulloch says, it hasn’t left the rotation yet.

Fried porgie at the newly-opened A Family Affair restaurant on Columbia Road in Upham's Corner.
Lane Turner/Globe Staff
Fried porgie at the newly-opened Family Affair restaurant on Columbia Road in Upham's Corner.

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What to Drink: You’ll find the usual water, soda, and juice, along with bottled Jamaican ginger beer.

The Takeaway: Family Affair serves up indulgence and positive vibes, from the inspirational Bible quotes written on the chalkboard to the reasonably priced menu of comfort food (it tops out at $14).

554 Columbia Road, Dorchester, 617-514-4458, www.famaffairboston.com

Devra First can be reached at devra.first@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.