Review: Jus Like Ya’ Mamma’s Soul Food/Catering

8:28 PM Kari R. 4 Comments

"Don’t judge a book by its cover” – Anonymous

Well, there is a reason an anonymous person can be attributed to this quote – because sometimes, it’s better to judge.

Some of you are probably thinking “is that the real name of the restaurant?” or “why would you ever go there?”

Yes, I asked myself these questions as well, especially the latter, numerous times over these past few days.

Let’s backtrack a little now, shall we?

A few weeks ago I was driving on Meridian Avenue, just past Fruitdale. Then, I saw it…the old Taco Bell (yes, the one next to Mr. Chow’s and across from Wienerschnitzel) was now open and ready for business… Jus Like Ya’ Mamma’s Soul Food/Catering.

Let’s just say the place is run down and still looks like Taco Bell. But, I thought, maybe I’ll give it a try. After all, if it turned out to be good, it would prove the haters wrong; but if it was bad, at least it would be good reading material for the blog.

Skip a week or so…

I arrived at JLYM on a cold Wednesday evening. As I walked into the restaurant the entryway was cluttered with a Weber BBQ grill, trash can, iron tables, etc. Across the entryway there was an “Out of Order” taped around the soda machine. Bose speakers, crown molding, and I think “mama’s” tacked on a cork wall. The taco bell menu had been replaced with a gaping hole exposing broken florescent lights and missing dry wall. Very decorative…Strike one: atmosphere was anything but a “mamma’s kitchen” and made me want to leave…

As I approached the register, a small whiteboard had the menu hand-written and with lots of smudges it was very hard to read. I asked the young girl for her suggestion on the best thing on the menu.

With her suggestion, I went with the fried chicken dinner that came with three sides; I chose fries, cornbread (they didn’t have biscuits) and mac-n-cheese.

Then my friends placed their order.

My sister placed her order and came back with a piece of paper. I thought it was her order number but I was wrong. It was an IOU. Turns out they ran out of cash in the register so JLYM was indebted to her for $8.86. One of the employees was leaving to try to get change.

Strike two. How do you not have change? It still baffles me.

Strike three: No refreshments. Soda machine was out of order and nothing to drink was sold for sale. We had to walk over to Mr. Chow’s for our soda business…

Then, we waited…..and waited….more people came who paid in cash, so my sister got her 8.86 back…and waited….and waited some more.

A good half hour after we placed our order, the food was ready. Strike four: if I’m waiting a half hour, you better at least have a heater on or a seat inside for me to wait. None on both accounts – I was stuck, standing, in the freezing “restaurant.”

Finally we all sat down, outside, did I mention it was FREEZING?

It smelled pretty good, making me optimistic for the outcome. I mean they clearly cooked all of our food when our orders were placed so I started thinking this place might actually be worth the wait and the distinct “ambiance”.

As we opened our Styrofoam boxes, we started to dig in. Note: when you sell fried chicken, please make a note to also provide napkins or paper towels. I felt like a cavewoman diggin into my fried chicken leg.

On to the food… It was a mediocre huge portion that left me sick. Yes, sick.

The fried chicken: Overly fried, very salty and greasy (note: remember I didn’t have any napkins so I basically had grease all over my face, digging into my pours).

The fries: Not bad. But, they were frozen, how hard is it to fry and salt?

The mac-n-cheese: Pretty good, very cheesy and melty – definitely the highlight of the meal.

But, then I made the mistake of biting into my bf’s country fried steak. Strike 100 – only a fork and no knife (reverting back to the cavewoman feeling). The country fried steak was probably the worst thing I’ve eaten in a looong time.

One word: Salt.

It was the saltiest (and too much pepper now that I think of it) chicken that I’ve ever eaten in my entire life.

Bottom line: No, this isn’t like my mama’s soul food. In fact, my mama has only been to the south once (and I’m not sure New Orleans really counts) and her soul food is waay better.

My advice: Drive up one block and have the colonel over at KFC whip you up some soul food. At least they have drinks, napkins, silverware, a bathroom and you can be served in minutes.

No bytes for this one.

I wouldn’t be surprised if T Bell comes back…

Name: Jus Like Ya’ Mama’s Soul Food/Catering
Address: 916 Meridian Ave, San Jose, CA 95126
Pricing: Dinners meals range around $10 - 15 (servings are huge, so you could easily split)
Byte Rating: 0 out of 5


  1. FUNNY... a good, bad review on this one!

  2. Happy to see you had a positive comment about your mama....

  3. haha, i'm impressed you tried this place!!

  4. an IOU, really? you brave, brave soul.