Jackson Soul Food
By DAPHNE TAYLOR
If you know anything about the heavy metal group, Metallica, you know they’re one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time. But apparently, their fans love themselves some soul food! The owners and staff of Jackson Soul Food of Miami found that out when the famous soul food restaurant opened a location last month in Hard Rock Stadium, the home of the Miami Dolphins.
It was July 7 – their grand opening and soul food debut at the stadium – and yes, they were excited. They pride themselves Soul Food on preparation and the night Metallica was playing, they thought they were more than prepared for the debut of their groundbreaking venture at the stadium.
But lo and behold, they didn’t realize the Metallica crowd was going to want lots and lots and lots of their soul food! Jackson Soul Food had lines and lines of fans waiting to get their famous pork chops, fried conch and more. By the end of the night, they had sold out of their traditional soul food culinary delights.
“That took us by surprise,” said Cartanisha Jennings, daughter of owner Shirlene Ingraham. “We didn’t expect that!”
And so it goes, through that experience they learned their food was truly a hit at the stadium. “If we could sell out at a Metallica concert, then anything is possible, ” said Jennings.
With that kind of start, Jackson Soul Food is on the way to great things at the Dolphins’ home stadium.
Already running two successful restaurants in Miami – one in historic Overtown and the other in Opa Locka – General manager, Ayesha Ingraham, said they were approached by the food service company at the stadium to consider coming into the stadium with their world-class soul food. Within a matter of months, it was a done deal.
Now, they’re gearing up for football season, and they expect great things out of the venture. It’s especially gratifying considering their humble beginnings.
“We started with one building with no working air conditioning. We didn’t even have AC, but our customers kept coming back. We’ve come a long way,” said Jennings.
Shirlene Ingraham, CEO, is the pioneer running the operations of Jackson Soul Food and has been doing so for over 30 years.
With time, love, quality food and dedication to loyal customer service, Shirlene cultivated Jackson Soul Food into a first-class establishment. Today, with their foray into the stadium, they are setting a precedence for other small, minority-owned businesses, Ingraham said.
“It shows any small business owner that anything is possible. We’re showing the community that we’re moving forward and we’re bringing them with us,” said Ingraham, who said they’re also in negotiations with Miami International Airport as well, hoping to bring their famous soul food to airport travelers.
Jennings said the sky is the limit for the company. “We want to do a cook book, a reality show, cooking shows, put our sauces and famous biscuits in stores. Truly, the sky is the limit for us,” she said.
In addition to their amazing delicatessens, they pride themselves on being community-minded as well.
On August 22 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., they’re offering free “Coffee and Conversations with Cops,” at their Opa-Locka location, 14511 NW 27 Avenue. They’re inviting the community at large to come out for some free coffee and conversation with the brew being poured by the cops.
“It’s a perfect way to engage the community in important conversation,” said Jennings. “We’re looking forward to it.”
For more info on this or other inquiries at Jackson Soul Food, call them at 305-374-7661 or visit their website at www.jacksonsoulfood.com.
Meanwhile, brass at Hard Rock Stadium said they’re excited to have Jackson Soul Food, as well as other great new offerings for an enhanced fan experience.
Phase III of a $500 million plus renovation privately funded by Owner Stephen Ross has attracted world-renown iconic brands to the space through a new partnership with Aston Martin Residences boasting fresh food and beverage offerings, new luxury and party spaces and redesigned landscaping and parking.
Fans for the 2017 season can expect a continued commitment to bring fresh flavor and a diverse array of options to Hard Rock Stadium. This year, celebrity chef David Chang also made his first foray into Florida with the debut of Fuku at the venue.
Hard Rock Stadium also will proudly serve new offerings from Coyo Taco, Los Ranchos, O-B House and Shorty’s BBQ. These flavors join a plethora of options for fans including Grown, Shula Burger and Sushi Maki.