Jackson Soul Food brings legendary family recipes to MIA

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava (third from right), County Commissioner Keon Hardemon (fourth from left), County Commissioner Anthony Rodriguez (second from left), Jackson Soul Food owner Shirlene Ingraham (fourth from right), and MIA Director and CEO Ralph Cutié (third from left), along with former County Commissioners and SSP America.

(MIAMI, February 22, 2024) – After opening its first restaurant in Miami-Dade County’s historic Black heritage neighborhood of Overtown in 1946 and its second location in the City of Opa-locka in 2015, Jackson Soul Food has now brought its legendary family recipes to Miami International Airport (MIA).

MIA Director and CEO Ralph Cutié and Mayor Daniella Levine Cava enjoy Arnold Palmers at the Jackson Soul Food ribbon-cutting ceremony.

On February 20, Jackson Soul Food Owner Shirlene Ingraham and Chief Executive Officer of SSP America Michael Svagdis, were joined by Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, County Commissioner Marleine Bastien, former County Commissioners Barbara J. Jordan and Audrey M. Edmonson, and MIA Director and CEO Ralph Cutié to cut the ribbon for the home-grown small business’ third location, located just beyond security in MIA’s Concourse E near gate E2.

“I am so proud to see how Jackson Soul Food has grown to become a thriving minority-owned business over the past 78 years and to now see them open a third location at our County’s largest economic engine,” said Mayor Levine Cava. “Millions of travelers from all over the world can now enjoy Jackson’s popular soul food and get another taste of what our diverse community has to offer. Being able to celebrate their ribbon-cutting during Black History Month makes this opening even more special.”

Branded as Jackson Square, the MIA location also includes Jackson Soul Food’s Chick-fil-A franchise and is accessible to passengers inside concourses D and E. SSP America, a division of SSP Group – a leading operator of food and beverage brands in travel locations worldwide – is operating Jackson Square in partnership with Jackson Soul Food.

“My team and I are so glad to bring the same family-oriented atmosphere and home-made food to the airport that we offer our guests at our Overtown and Opa-locka locations,” Ingraham said. “The opening of our MIA location, along with the Chick-fil-A location mark, an important milestone in my life. I’d like to thank my family and all of our team members for their hard work and dedication.”

Ingraham started learning to cook at the age of six at her parents’ restaurant, Mama’s Café. She would hide in her parents’ car at 4 a.m. so she could go to work with them and would stand behind the counter on a block crate, helping to serve biscuits. Jackson Soul Food would grow to become a popular draw for both Miami residents and celebrities, with its menu of traditional soul food dishes such as fried catfish, meatloaf, ribs, candied yams, fried okra, collard greens, and macaroni and cheese.

John Clark, Senior Vice President of Development, Airports, and Airlines, SSP America, said: “Opening a local restaurant like Jackson Soul Food is integral to who we are as a company—we’re all about bringing a ‘taste of place’ to passengers. It’s an honor to partner with Shirlene and the Jackson team. We’re also incredibly proud to join Miami International Airport and intend to make a positive contribution to the MIA community.”


SSP America is a division of SSP Group, a leading operator of food and beverage concessions in travel locations, operating restaurants, bars, cafés, food courts, lounges, and convenience stores in airports, train stations, motorway service stations, and other leisure locations. We operate in approximately 180 airports and 300 rail stations in 36 countries around the world and operate more than 550 international, national, and local brands across our 2,700 units. The SSP America team is driven by a shared vision to bring authentic restaurant experiences to every airport in North America. Our employees have a passion for exceptional food served by people who believe in heartfelt hospitality. Our airport partners trust SSP America to deliver a world-class portfolio of brands with broad passenger appeal and lasting commercial viability. Our brand heroes trust us to bring a taste of place to their hometown airport.

Miami International Airport, America’s busiest airport for international freight and the second busiest for international passengers, is receiving an unprecedented investment of $7 billion in capital improvements and $1.7 billion in maintenance upgrades. MIA offers more flights to Latin America and the Caribbean than any other U.S. airport and is also the leading economic engine for Miami-Dade County and the state of Florida, generating business revenue of $31.9 billion and approximately 60 percent of all international visitors to Florida annually.

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