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Jada's Soul Food

Update: Jada's is closed.

In a word: Magnificent South Madison "southern menu" should make smiles.

PhoneThe specs: #0270
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; articles & reviews at TDPF, Cap City Hues, WiSJ, Brava, The Space Inside, Fearful Symmetries; official web site.

Ann, JM and Nichole ate the pork, chicken and catfish dinners.
The bill was about $21, or $7/person, plus tip.
JM gave Jada's Soul Food an A-; Nichole gave Jada's Soul Food an A (see our grading rubric).

Latest Jada's Soul Food news and reviews

Our trip to Jada's Soul Food was notable for the distinguished company, excellent food and superior hospitality.

We headed to the former Mr. P's on Beld St., behind the Arby's on Park, on what felt like the hottest day of the summer (little did we know). In the minimalist dining area a window air conditioner sat unplugged on the floor, taunting us, but after chatting with co-owner Linda we learned that she and her partner Jackie are working on improving the building - or finding a new place. Either way, as long as they keep making this sublime food, we'll be happy.

Chicken and friesLet's talk about this fried chicken. The photo doesn't do it justice, really. Served hot as molten lava, it was tender and juicy, and the light batter was seasoned just enough.

The pork chop (not pictured) seemed like it might have used the same batter recipe as the chicken, but that's not a complaint. There's a "smothered" option in which the chop is covered in gravy, but it turned out better that we hadn't gone that route. The plastic utensils didn't hold up well, and we found it much easier and more satisfying to just grab a chop or a wing by the bone and gnaw. Add a little Tabasco sauce, and Nichole, at least, decided that this was one of the best meals she's had in Madison.


Fried catfish can be tricky. These fillets were perfect, though - the amount of cornmeal breading was just right, with a texture that complemented the flaky, moist fish inside.  It seems that the catfishionados would be well pleased but other dishes beckon more to the non-S'uthe'n palate.

And don't forget the sides! We certainly didn't! Each dinner came with two. Between us we tasted the spaghetti, collard greens, mac and cheese, sweet potatoes, fries, and dressing.

  • Collard greens: slightly sweet and salty, these were made perfect with a dash of the hot sauce.
  • Mac and cheese: JM thinks this might be the best he's ever had. And he's had a lot of mac and cheese in his lifetime. A lot.
  • Sweet potatoes: tender and filling.
  • Dressing: awesome, nutty stuffing with a great aroma and texture.
  • Spaghetti: Neither JM nor Nichole recalled having this, but Ann seemed to enjoy it.  We guess we'll let her comment.
  • Fries: average, almost boringly so. Opt for their specialties instead.

Finally, there ain't nothing wrong with this cornbread. It's modeled on the ideal cornbread, unadulterated with bits of anything, sweet but not cloying, and just crumbly enough.  Very dry on a hot summer's day, though.

Check out their web site (one of the nicer restaurant web sites we've seen) and go try Jada's Soul Food before summer slips away.


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This makes three joints on Park that I really want to get to (El Pastor and Taqueria Morelos make the trio). I drive past all these spots to and from work, and it's just so hard to make myself get back over there when the commute is over.

Jada's, however, sounds like just the place to hit for takeout on the way home. God, are the desserts cheap!

Just reading this review makes me want to go back for more! I loved the catfish, it was hands down the BEST I've had in Madison, and the best I've had in a long while.

I nearly cried after the first few bites. Everything about the place reminded me of my family "back home" in Montgomery AL.

I definitely have to try that pork chop.


Yeah, it's good. Good. And for being cafeteria-style seating, even recluses like me and the lady would run the risk of, you know, bumping shoulders with another human being in order to dine in and get it all fresh.

But the catfish is indeed wonderful, and the greens are tasty (good call on the sauce), and the yams are almost a meal in and of themselves, and the fries.....well, the fries are uninspiring. The seasoning was good, the fries themselves not so much. The "famous" steak burger was reminiscent of Salisbury steak or meatballs, but pretty good in that guilty, comfort-y sort of way. Buttery, salty, meaty, no-nonsense. And huge!

Linda seemed super-nice, and the loud gospelly soul music was upbeat and dare I say uplifting, without being obnoxious.

Jada's is absolutely one of my favorite places to eat in Madison. There are two places in town where the food is so good I don't talk during the meal- I just eat (the other is Cafe Porta Alba).

The fried chicken is divine. But I'm not even sure if it is the best part of the meal. Their sides are absurdly good. My favorites are the Mac'n'cheese, the collard greens (both even better with a dash of hot sauce), the yams, and the green beans.

And don't miss their sweet potato pie if they've got it, the perfect end to the perfect summer meal.

Update: the leftovers are just as good (although none of the greens survived the initial eating). And the peach cobbler, while not my favorite dessert by taste, was still made well, and absolutely worth at least three times as much as I paid for it.

It's possible I'll go back today.

If I found the place the place like I think I did, it looks very much closed.

Tell me I'm wrong.

No! I'll have to check.

I seem to remember that they're sometimes closed on Mondays. Please please let it be that!

Sadly, it was a Saturday. At about 5:00 PM.

Thought I'd check their status, and possibly order some catfish, for dinner tonight.

The outgoing voicemail message stated that they're closed for takeout business. They're still catering, but not doing counter orders. The message also stated that they welcome voicemail messages and e-mails. Maybe write them to show your support, if you dug the place as much as those of us who posted here do.

Okay folks, listen up. There's a new soul food place just off Fish Hatch, Don's Soul Food Cafe. My husband and I ate there this evening, and it was wonderful. Chicken, catfish, blackeyed peas, hush puppies, candied yams, all for a great price and all of it fantastic.

Please, for the love of all that is holy, if you liked Jada's, check out this new place. We were the only people there this evening. Don't let it close like Jada's, please! I think my heart would break if Madison lost its soul food again.

A link to TDP and their glowing review.


Yes, Doug's is great.

Agh, yes, Doug's, not Don's. >_<

Seriously though, all they need is some fried okra and they'll be the greatest place ever.

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