Veteran caterer comes back from shooting, revives Wendy’s House of Soul amid pandemic

Wendy Puckett, a veteran Minneapolis cook and caterer, is resilient.

She survived being shot with a pellet gun last fall, which put her in the hospital and temporarily forced the closing of her popular Wendy’s House of Soul restaurant.

Then, the coronavirus outbreak came along, disrupting business again. Last month, the restaurant lost its lease on W. Broadway, prompting a move and a reopening a mile away.

“I’m praying this will [turn out] a good year,” Puckett said. “We plan. We work hard. I live one day at a time.”

Puckett has chosen to deal with adversity with an offensive led by love for her neighbors — and good food.

Puckett, 49, works with her sister, Heather Warfield, 47, who serves as chief financial officer for the business. They and some of their 15 employees worked tirelessly for two weeks to clean, install equipment, paint and otherwise prep the new location.

It has ample seating room for post-pandemic days and additional food-preparation space to cover a catering business that has surged to almost two-thirds of revenue in a down year.

A steady stream of customers poured into the new location at 1825 Glenwood Av. over a lunch hour last week. Most asked for takeout orders but a few stayed

“This could be a $1 million business within two years,” Warfield said. “We are at less than 50% capacity. And we are going to [build the business] and do it right.’’

Her sister is back in playing shape, recovering physically from the shooting last November. She had just closed up the shop around 8 p.m. when four young men in a car with a pellet gun swung by and paused. One fired a BB that went up her nose. Puckett collapsed into her van, stunned.

Surgery was required to remove the pellet that had lodged near her eye. It took weeks to recover from the physical and psychological trauma.

“It still gives me the weekie-geekies,” Puckett quipped. “It was traumatic. I tasted my own blood.”

Two adults and two youths were arrested by police in February, on suspicion of shooting Puckett and being involved in other shootings on the North Side, Northeast and Brooklyn Center. They were released on bail and are awaiting trial, as the pandemic slowed prosecutions in Hennepin County District Court.

Without Puckett, Wendy’s House of Soul closed for a couple of weeks. It was saved by $5,000 in community donations and a chef from the Minneapolis Women’s Club and others who donated their time.

“The response was overwhelming,” Puckett recalled. “I met people who helped me who I did not know. Many put a prayer in the air for me. It was unbelievable.”

Just as business was getting back to normal, the pandemic hit. It has caused dozens of Twin Cities restaurants to close. Many others are scraping by with takeout, patio service and limited indoor seating.

At Wendy’s House of Soul, Puckett created a soul food menu that features standards like burgers, wings and waffles. She

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Puckett comes back from shooting, revives Wendy’s House of Soul amid pandemic



a person standing in front of a computer: Owner Wendy Puckett of the expanding House of Soul cafe and caterer in north Minneapolis said she is praying for a better year as a difficult 2020 winds down.


© Star Tribune/Star Tribune/Neal St. Anthony • Star Tribune/Star Tribune/TNS
Owner Wendy Puckett of the expanding House of Soul cafe and caterer in north Minneapolis said she is praying for a better year as a difficult 2020 winds down.

Wendy Puckett, a veteran Minneapolis cook and caterer, is resilient.

She survived being shot with a pellet gun last fall, which put her in the hospital and temporarily forced the closing of her popular Wendy’s House of Soul restaurant.

Then, the coronavirus outbreak came along, disrupting business again. Last month, the restaurant lost its lease on W. Broadway, prompting a move and a reopening a mile away.

“I’m praying this will [turn out] a good year,” Puckett said. “We plan. We work hard. I live one day at a time.”

Puckett has chosen to deal with adversity with an offensive led by love for her neighbors — and good food.

Puckett, 49, works with her sister, Heather Warfield, 47, who serves as chief financial officer for the business. They and some of their 15 employees worked tirelessly for two weeks to clean, install equipment, paint and otherwise prep the new location.

It has ample seating room for post-pandemic days and additional food-preparation space to cover a catering business that has surged to almost two-thirds of revenue in a down year.

A steady stream of customers poured into the new location at 1825 Glenwood Av. over a lunch hour last week. Most asked for takeout orders but a few stayed

“This could be a $1 million business within two years,” Warfield said. “We are at less than 50% capacity. And we are going to [build the business] and do it right.’’

Her sister is back in playing shape, recovering physically from the shooting last November. She had just closed up the shop around 8 p.m. when four young men in a car with a pellet gun swung by and paused. One fired a BB that went up her nose. Puckett collapsed into her van, stunned.

Surgery was required to remove the pellet that had lodged near her eye. It took weeks to recover from the physical and psychological trauma.

“It still gives me the weekie-geekies,” Puckett quipped. “It was traumatic. I tasted my own blood.”

Two adults and two youths were arrested by police in February, on suspicion of shooting Puckett and being involved in other shootings on the North Side, Northeast and Brooklyn Center. They were released on bail and are awaiting trial, as the pandemic slowed prosecutions in Hennepin County District Court.

Without Puckett, Wendy’s House of Soul closed for a couple of weeks. It was saved by $5,000 in community donations and a chef from the Minneapolis Women’s Club and others who donated their time.

“The response was overwhelming,” Puckett recalled. “I met people who helped me who I did not know. Many put a prayer in the air for me. It was unbelievable.”

Just as business was getting back to normal, the pandemic hit. It has caused

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Appeals court revives House lawsuit against Trump border wall

A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., revived a lawsuit by House Democrats challenging the Trump administration’s authority to use military funds for a border wall on Friday.

In a 3-0 decision, the appeals court reversed a lower court’s dismissal of the case. Friday’s ruling means the House has the right to sue. The case will be sent back to the trial court level.

The House filed its lawsuit last year, claiming President TrumpDonald John TrumpSteele Dossier sub-source was subject of FBI counterintelligence probe Pelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It ‘isn’t worth the paper it’s signed on’ Trump ‘no longer angry’ at Romney because of Supreme Court stance MORE’s use of a national emergency to divert military funds for border wall construction unconstitutionally bypassed Congress’s authority to appropriate funds.

U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, dismissed the case in 2019, ruling that the House lacked standing to sue over the national emergency order that allowed Trump to divert military funds to the border wall.

The appeals court said Friday that the Trump administration “cut the House out of its constitutionally indispensable legislative role” of handling appropriations.

“To put it simply, the Appropriations Clause requires two keys to unlock the Treasury, and the House holds one of those keys. The executive branch has, in a word, snatched the House’s key out of its hands. That is the injury over which the House is suing,” the three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit wrote.

The judges consisted of one Reagan appointee and two Obama appointees.

A ruling in favor of the administration “would fundamentally alter the separation of powers by allowing the Executive Branch to spend any funds the Senate is on board with, even if the House withheld its authorizations,” they wrote in their opening.

“Expenditures made without the House’s approval—or worse, as alleged here, in the face of its specific disapproval—cause a concrete and particularized constitutional injury that the House experiences, and can seek redress for, independently,” the judges added.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It is unclear what practical effect it would have if Democrats ultimately prevail in their lawsuit.

The Supreme Court has allowed the Trump administration to use defense funds amid litigation in the case, despite a California-based court’s ruling that the scheme is unconstitutional.

Disputes over Trump’s financing tactic arose early last year after he declared a national emergency at the southern border in an effort to free up additional funding for his signature project. Trump’s move came after a congressional spending bill allocated some $1.3 billion for border security, which fell short of the nearly $5 billion Trump said was needed.

Trump then reallocated $2.5 billion in funding that Congress appropriated for defense and military uses, sparking several lawsuits.

A federal district court in California last year temporarily halted the use of the reappropriated funds. But the Supreme Court in July 2019 stayed that order, allowing the administration to use defense funds

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Court revives House’s challenge of Trump wall funding

A federal appeals court on Friday revived a House challenge of President Donald Trump’s use of Defense Department money to build a border wall after Democrats refused to provide funding he requested

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed a lower court’s dismissal of the House Democrats’ lawsuit. The appeals panel found the House had been wrongly cut out of its “constitutionally indispensable legislative role” when Trump unilaterally moved about $8 billion to border wall construction.

Congress’ power to appropriate spending “is a core structural protection of the Constitution — a wall, so to speak, between the branches of government that prevents encroachment of the House’s and Senate’s power of the purse,” the panel wrote.

The case now returns to the court of U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, who had initially ruled that Congress lacked the authority to sue in April 2019.

The Justice Department did not immediately comment.

House Democrats sued three months after the end of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, triggered by Trump’s demand for border wall funding.

The president later signed a funding bill that included $1.4 billion for border barriers, short of the $5.7 billion he had demanded from Congress. But he then declared a national emergency to secure billions more in funding denied by Democrats controlling the House, in part by taking money for military housing and counterdrug programs.

The move triggered several legal challenges, including the one by House Democrats. Another appeals court ruled in June against the transfer of money from military construction projects. But the U.S. Supreme Court in July declined to order wall construction stopped while the case continued. The high court’s four liberal justices dissented. One of those four, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, died Sept. 18.

The three-judge panel consisted of Senior Circuit Judge David B. Sentelle, nominated to the court by former President Ronald Reagan, and two nominees of former President Barack Obama: Patricia Millett and Robert Wilkins.

Building a border wall was one of Trump’s signature campaign pledges four years ago, though he promised then that Mexico would pay for the wall.

The U.S. Border Patrol says it has completed 321 miles (517 kilometers) of wall during the Trump administration, though almost all of that is replacing existing barriers.

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