When you walk into Jackie’s Place, the aroma of fried chicken, mac and cheese and baked potatoes wafts through the air and you know instantly you are in soul food heaven.
Despite having opened late last year, dozens of people filter in and out of this small restaurant in San Jose's Japantown hoping to get a quick taste of Jackie Jackson’s magic.
“I had no idea this place was going to be as busy and as successful as it has been,” Jackson said during a recent interview with NBC Bay Area.
Jackson has been passionate about cooking ever since she launched her career as a caterer in the Bay Area 20 years ago. While she never imagined owning her own restaurant, her eight children did. So they pushed her to open Jackie’s Place in the heart of San Jose. A self-taught cook from a small town in Texas, Jackson's clients include the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Stanford University and over a dozen local churches.
While she never imagined owning her own restaurant, her eight children did. So they pushed her to open Jackie’s Place in the heart of San Jose.
But what Jackie didn’t know was how much the South Bay community had always wanted a soul food restaurant.
“I didn’t even realize that when I opened this place that I was going to be fulfilling a need in this area,” Jackson said. “I think we should have more soul food restaurants, there obviously is a need and people love the food, they love the comfort of a home cooked meal.”
A quick search on Yelp revealed Jackie’s Place to be the only soul food restaurant currently in the South Bay. Other soul food restaurants in the Bay Area are about 30 miles away from Santa Clara County.
“The community has been overly supportive of this restaurant because they feel like there's it was lacking,” said Jackson.
During our research, we found Lillie Mae's BBQ as one other soul food restaurant in the South Bay but learned they recently closed due to "unforeseen circumstances." The restaurant posted an announcement on Google Reviews stating, "Dear customers, WE ARE CLOSED due to unforeseen circumstances and planning to relocate as soon as possible."