“It’s a restaurant, but it’s my house.” Soul-food spot House of Flavas brings comfort food to the East Side – Low Calorie Diets Tips

The drive to Chicago can be a long road for many who want to experience the community warmth and flavor that comes with a delicious meal from an authentic soul food restaurant. Jodie Jefferson felt the same way as a Chicago native who moved to Madison to be closer to her family.

“Well, I go home every other weekend to get food, why not take the food to Madison,” Jefferson said. “And that’s exactly what happened in the House of Flavas.”

Jefferson’s initial efforts to offer tasty soul-food classics came from within her own home, with people flocking in and out of her driveway to get a meal. Things changed when Jefferson’s work told her that her devotion to cooking interfered with her work. With strong family support, Jefferson began taking steps toward opening her own restaurant.

“We (had) to come up with a name. And my daughter, the youngest, said, ‘Mom, you cook in the house, and you already call it Flavas, why don’t you say House of Flavas?’ And I say, ‘There you go.’ Everyone in the room did this for hours. And she said that, and everyone said: That’s it!”

While not the original location, House of Flava’s premises at 4905 Commercial Ave on Madison’s east side present opportunities that Jefferson will continue to explore.

“My landlord, who I love so much, said, ‘Well, we have another apartment. Look at this because you can’t work here yet, so let’s take this and look at this.’ And when I came here, I was like, ‘Oh my God. There are some things I could do.’” Jefferson said. “I get people coming in from all over to get the food, but I want you to be able to come straight from your neighborhood to get my food. I’m working on that.”

Jefferson strives to win people over to the community and service she can provide by creating a line of soul food featuring original homemade lemonades with custom names to match the custom flavors. Weekends are the most exciting time as there’s always something new, which Jefferson likes to keep as diverse as her future plans for the space.

“There’s so much space, so many things and talents that I have that I’m going to bring to the ‘house’ very soon,” she said. “Ice cream parlor that’s in the making over there. It’s in the making. We make all kinds of things from frozen smoothies to parfaits, all kinds of stuff. And it’s all by me because I’ve been cooking all these things for my kids their whole lives.”

Jefferson works at the restaurant surrounded by his family: a son who helps prepare for the opening in the mornings, a daughter, dubbed Jefferson’s “mini-me” who helps with the wait staff, a cousin who works at the register and keeps the mood in the restaurant , and Jefferson’s mother, who comes from Chicago to help out in a multi-generational business. Jefferson’s family inspiration extends even further, as this isn’t the first culinary endeavor in her family’s history.

“I heard that my mother’s mother had a restaurant, and her restaurant used to peel potatoes and cut the potatoes,” she said. “My uncle, my mother’s brother, would go in there every day and peel the potatoes and cut them into fries. And that’s why we serve freshly cut fries. This is something I give my kids all the time, we don’t pack french fries. We like them fresh.”

Of the many skills Jefferson possesses, from massage therapy to hairstyling to event planning, her passion for food has kept people coming back and given her the opportunity to help a community she cares deeply about.

“I’ve learned that God got me through the things I’ve been through, so He’s in front of me to get me through whatever’s in front of me,” she said. “And that has given me a positive life. It wasn’t always that positive but I want to be able to spread that and now it’s through my food but I have so much more to offer.”

The community has responded positively to the presence of House of Flavas. For both the soul food and soulful vibe, the feedback Jefferson has received shows how important their efforts have been to the community. “I keep hearing that. “Oh, wow, this feels like home.” When you enter here you feel at home, as if you have entered someone’s house. This is the house of the Flavas. It’s a restaurant, but it’s my house,” she said.

Jefferson just hopes that her story and her passion will inspire people to come out and be in the community to build a strong connection across Madison through food. “I just want Madison to hear it and Madison to know that,” she said. “Whether through food, through community, through camaraderie, we can all bridge the gap to become one again. And that’s what it’s all about. It’s about unity and community.”

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