Entrepreneurs Dawn Simmons and Teresa “Ree Ree” Mclaughlin have learned that if you start a restaurant and serve great food, people will come. I recently spoke with Simmons about their restaurant, Jake’s Soulfood Café.
Why did you decide to open Jake’s Soulfood in Hoover?
We decided to open Jake’s Soulfood Cafe in Hoover because of the outpouring of support from this area when we were located in Pelham.
What food do you serve?
Our soul food selections cover everything from chicken and waffles to our Ree Ree’s Meat Loaf. Our Caribbean selections cover everything from jerk chicken, curry chicken to oxtails.
What makes Jake’s different from other restaurants in Birmingham?
Our motto is “There is soul in every bite.” We take extra measure to ensure that the food is seasoned properly. Our customer service is second to none.
What catering and entertainment options do you offer?
We offer a custom catering menu to our Jake’s lovers. We believe that every situation is unique. Some things are more important to some than to others. We want to address their needs head on. We are closed on Mondays but available to rent the dining room on Mondays for private parties.
What advice do you have for people who want to start a restaurant?
Do your research and find a mentor. Make sure this is what you really want to do. It’s more than just the fact that your cousin told you that you can cook. (Girl, your meatloaf is the bomb.com.) At home, yes…for 100 people a day, you have to see if that’s what you really want to do. It is a lot of work but very rewarding if serving is your gift. We find light and love in sharing food with customers that then become family to us. Go for it!
What has been the best part of having a restaurant in Hoover?
The incredible support. It’s becoming a second home for a lot of people in the area. We have weekly regulars, and we look forward to seeing them and those smiles.
What’s next for Jake’s Soulfood?
We are currently in process of looking for another location toward the downtown Birmingham area. Any suggestions are welcomed.
Do you have anything you would like to add?
We appreciate all the support we have received and we look forward to serving you again. God Bless.