Overtown has changed a lot in the last 70 years, but one thing has remained consistent: Jackson Soul Food. It used to be Mama’s Cafe and at one time only served breakfast, but it’s grown up and remains a beloved institution in Miami. That’s why they’re on our neighborhood crawl through Overtown next week.
The restaurant has since become a community meeting place, an event space, a location for political campaigning, election night watch parties and much more. Over the years they’ve expanded the menu to include lunch and dinner. They’ve served more than 100,000 customers and hosted everyone from Uncle Luke to local pastors. Like Versailles near Little Havana, you can’t run in that district without making a campaign stop there.
We asked Ayesha Ingraham, Jackson’s administrative director, about some of the restaurant’s history and what she’s excited about in Overtown.
If you had to describe Jackson in one sentence what would you say?
A place to socialize with locals and tourists over a home-cooked meal with mama’s biscuits and corn muffins from scratch.
The restaurant’s been around since the 1940s. How do you think you’ve managed to make the business work for so long?
I think the key to Jackson Soul Food staying in business since the 1940s is we treat everyone like family, along with [serving] good old-fashioned cooking at great prices.
What’s your favorite thing on the menu?
My favorite thing on the menu is the Jackson’s red glaze shrimp. It is shrimp sautéed in an exclusive sauce that you can only find at Jackson Soul Food. It is spicy and flavorful.
If you had a friend coming to visit Miami where would you take them?
If I had a friend come in from out of town I would most definitely bring them to Jackson Soul Food. I would bring them here because it’s so Miami. You can meet locals and link up with more tourists over a good meal. You never know who you will see from celebrities to politicians such as Joe Biden.
When Joe Biden came, it was to an awesome experience for the restaurant itself just to have him come in the establishment, to meet and greet the customers. It was really special.
What are you excited about in Overtown?
I am excited about the Dunns-Josephine boutique bed and breakfast coming soon. We will be providing the breakfast to the hotel once [it opens].
And when she’s not in the mood for soul food?
I really like sushi and if I’m in the mood I go to Moon Thai. I know everybody doesn’t like sushi, but that’s my favorite place to get it.
Andreas Schreiner’s Miami restaurant adventure started with a drive on his red Vespa scooter. While exploring different neighborhoods, he and his business partners saw opportunity in Sunset Harbour.
In 2010, Schreiner, José Mendín and Sergio Navarro founded Pubbelly Restaurant Group. The group has now launched 14 different operations, opened 6 restaurants in Miami and created a partnership with a cruise line.
Check out how the Pubbelly Boys helped transform Sunset Harbour from a sleepy waterfront with only auto body shops to a bustling restaurant destination.
Solid effort. Business news channel CNBC has been traveling the U.S., visiting the cities on Amazon’s shortlist for HQ2. They gave South Florida a solid B+ and said we might have gotten an A if we only had more technology workers around (bummer, since yesterday we shared a Miami Herald story about how we’re struggling to keep tech workers because our salaries are too low). Only Dallas and Austin scored higher than us on CNBC’s grading scale, while Chicago, New York, and Washington all scored below us. (Miami Herald)
Oh boy. Less than 24 hours after Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis clinched their parties’ nominations for governor, the sparring began. First, President Trump trashed Gillum on Twitter without actually naming him. Gillum fired back “next time @ me.” Then, Ron DeSantis got on Fox, said Gillum was “articulate,” and warned voters not to “monkey this up” by supporting Gillum, which is clearly not an OK thing to say. DeSantis’s spokesman called the accusations that DeSantis meant that to be a racist comment “absurd.” Sigh. November is a long way away. (Twitter, Miami Herald)
Meanwhile… While a DeSantis victory was expected, Gillum’s victory took many by surprise. Here’s a breakdown of how Florida’s black voters turned out and clinched the Democratic nomination for Gillum. (Tampa Bay Times)
Tapping the brakes. You don’t hear about it too often, but Miami-Dade does have a board that oversees the half-penny transportation tax passed years ago to fund rail expansion. That tax mostly ended up being used to cover transit’s operational costs, but the board, called the Citizens’ Independent Transportation Trust, is over that and it’s trying to block the county commission from raiding that tax revenue for anything other than its intended use by refusing to authorize it. Stay tuned. (Miami Herald)
Do this not that. Do you flush your floss, contact lenses, extra medicine, or tampons down the toilet? No bueno. Turns out all of those things are wrecking our sewage systems and even our water itself in a variety of ways. Here’s a rundown of what you should and shouldn’t flush if you want to protect our waterways. (New York Times via Miami Herald)
A different kind of Mr. Robot. Miami YotelPad, a not-yet-finished hotel and apartment building coming to downtown Miami, has decided it’s kind of over that whole human interaction thing. They’ll have three robots on hand – two to serve residents, one for hotel guests. The robots will do things like deliver items to rooms and apartments, call elevators, and yes, they’ll even talk to you. The best part? YotelPad will be holding a public competition to pick names for the robots. Hopefully this isn’t another Boaty McBoatface situation. (Miami Herald)
Before we go, we want to give some major props to Andrew Otazo. Months ago, he shared his quest to rid Crandon Park’s Bear Cut Preserve and the waters offshore of plastic trash. At that point, he had picked up about 2,000 pounds of trash.
Well, earlier this month, he finished clearing 6,000 – yes, 6,000 – pounds. Huge props to Andrew and all the community members who pitched in to help him. Now that’s living like you live here.
– The New Tropic