The cuisine served at Jackson Soul Food in the historic Overton, Miami location or at Jackson Soul Food II in Opa-Locka, FL has been a community mainstay for decades. But family matriarch Shirlene Jackson Ingraham’s business has been sorely tested by the pandemic. With one of her restaurant locations shut down completely for well over six months, and the other unable to accommodate most in-person dining during the same time period, the pandemic has been incredibly challenging to the family’s bottom line. Wholesale food prices have doubled or tripled, Ingraham tells The Root. Unfortunately tough choices include reduced restaurant hours, limited menu items and lack of staff for larger events and outside catering. Still, it’s the family’s can-do attitude that has overcome every setback.
Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Ingraham was raised as one of 12 children. Her parents came from rural Florida and rural Georgia moving to Miami in the 1930s looking for better opportunities. Then, Mama’s Cafe got its start in 1946. One of Ingraham’s earliest memories is of standing on a plastic crate in her parent’s restaurant at around age 6 stirring breakfast grits. Today, Ingraham prides herself in continuing the family legacy at both Florida locations. Raised in a large family, Ingraham loves the fact that several family members and all of her four adult children are involved in the business.
So, what’s on the breakfast & brunch menu at Jackson Soul Food? French toast, shrimp and grits, cornbread, yellowtail, chicken and waffles (waffle flavors include banana, blueberry, red velvet or granola depending on availability.) Or how abut country ham, browned potatoes, okra and tomatoes or mac and cheese? Ask your server if the Taylor Turkey wings (Opalocka style) are available. Your choice of fried, grilled or baked catfish is something some will definitely make a beeline for. Sweet tea is obviously a must. Starting from around 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Jackson Soul Food diners can get breakfast/brunch sit-down and take-out via a drive-through option.
Eager to get back to cooking for the restaurant’s famous early-morning breakfast/brunch prep, Ingraham hands the phone to her son who makes the time in his busy morning to briefly name a few of the dozens of celebrity guests who have eaten at Jackson Soul Food over the years. Everyone from then President Bill Clinton and then Vice President Joe Biden to Ashanti, Dwyane Wade, Nelly and many more. Ingraham tells The Root that her number one priority is feeding her customers in a way that clearly comes from the heart
JACKSON SOUL FOOD
950 NW 3rd Avenue
Miami, FL 33136, United States
JACKSON SOUL FOOD II
14511 NW27th Avenue
Opa-Locka, FL 33054, United States
Call for specific dining hours and drive through or take-out options.