Some folks call it “soul food”, others call it “country cooking”. Popular local food authority Chef Hardette Harris, creator of the Official Meal of North Louisiana, just calls it “what we eat around here”. Whatever you call the kind of cooking that’s given the world smothered pork chops, beef tips and rice, yams, collard greens and 7-UP cake, there’s a great new place to get it. MJ’s Culinary Cuisine (2508 Hollywood Avenue, Shreveport) opened in March in a nondescript shopping center at the intersection of Hollywood Avenue and Mansfield Road. What it lacks in curb appeal or interior decor it more than makes up for with show-stopping plate lunches and old-school Southern desserts.
The word on the street (and by “the street”, I mean the internet) is that the thing to order at MJ’s Culinary Cuisine is beef tips and rice. But when I was greeted by the scent of barbecue ribs, my fate was sealed. Those ribs ($9.99 for three ribs, two sides and cornbread) were outstanding, but the side of homemade yams was the best thing on my plate. I came very close to ordering a second helping of yams to-go.
When you place your order at the walk-up counter, you’ll be greeted by the other star of the show at MJ’s: the cakes. On the day of my visit, the place was like a museum of great Southern cakes: peanut butter sheet cake, hummingbird cake, 7-UP cake and more. The slice of peanut butter cake that I ordered was as good as any I’ve eaten locally, which is saying a lot. If Shreveport wanted to throw a food festival that celebrated a great local dish, an argument could be made in favor of the Shreveport Peanut Butter Cake Festival.
MJ’s is located just a few blocks west of Eddie’s Seafood & Soul Food, a restaurant that is keeping the popular Shreveport style of stuffed shrimp in circulation, along with a few other eateries. If, for whatever reason, you haven’t dined at either of these places, I encourage you to do so. These restaurants have a great deal to say about who we are as a community and “what we eat”.
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I have eaten there several times, never disappointed and the yams are delicious.