Kirbie's Cravings

Bonnie Jean’s Soul Food Cafe

1964 54th St
San Diego, CA 92105

(619) 262-8854

The other day my friend asked me if I was interested in checking out some soul food.  He had a coupon he had bought from groupon.  I jumped at the opportunity.  I’ve been wanting to check out Bonnie Jean’s for a while now, and here was my chance.

I have to confess, I’ve never had soul food before.  I’ve read about it, seen it on tv, so I had an idea of what it was about.  From the outside, Bonnie Jean’s doesn’t look like much.  The inside has a very homey feel.  The place is decorated with quite a few paintings.  Boyfriend urged me to take pictures, but the pictures were too big to fit on my camera screen.  There is a shelf of board games for you to play while you wait for your foods, and a tv to watch as well.

The staff is very friendly, and exactly what I had imagined in my head as what a “soul food” restaurant would be like.  All the employees there talk with a slow drawl, and as soon as they spoke, I felt instantly transported from San Diego to the South.  I knew I was in for a good home cooked meal. 

The menu is on their website.  The prices are quite reasonable.  Most dishes are about $10, and include sides and cornbread.  There were quite a few entrees involving fried chicken.  Since I love fried chicken, I couldn’t really read past those entrees.  Their food is also made to order.  So they don’t start frying the chicken until you order it, ensuring you get the freshest, crispiest chicken.  (The boardgames are for the wait while they cook up your food.)

We started with an order of their famous fried macballs, which were recommended as their most popular appetizers.  I had imagined little balls of fried mac & cheese, but instead we were greeted with three giant balls.

The batter was nice and light.  Inside was filled with gooey mac n cheese.  There were little bits of jalapeno, adding a nice kick to the cheesy mac.  My friend “S” and Boyfriend really loved the macballs.  I enjoyed them as well, though not nearly as much as they did.

For my entree I got the chicken and waffles.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that this entree did not come with sides and cornbread.  Had I known earlier, I would have just gotten the chicken plate.

The chicken and waffles was served with two pieces of chicken (you get to choose dark or white meat, I chose dark).  The waffle looked a bit disappointing to me.  I like my waffles to be nice and thick.  This one was quite thin.  It was crispy though. 

The chicken did not disappoint.  The outside had a thick crispy batter and the chicken underneath was still quite moist.  Surprisingly, this tasted very much like my mom’s fried chicken.  Who knew that all these years my mom’s been making soul food?

S ordered the Southern Fried chicken plate, which comes with three pieces of chicken, cornbread, and two sides.  He chose collard greens and black eyed peas.

Boyfriend opted to try the smothered chicken: chicken smothered in gravy.  For his sides, he chose collard greens and candied yams.

While Boyfriend enjoyed the gravy, he was sad that the skin wasn’t crispy anymore since it was smothered in the gravy.

S really loved his sides, eating all the collard greens and black eyed peas.  Boyfriend and I weren’t nearly as into the side dishes.  I think we just weren’t used to the preparation.  The collard greens are prepared with ham hocks and bacon.  I’m not a big fan of the ham taste, so I didn’t really like it in my greens.  The candied yams were super sweet, and then had an aftertaste of nutmeg.  I liked them, except for the nutmeg taste at the end.  Boyfriend just thought they were way too sweet in general.

Both Boyfriend and S enjoyed the cornbread, and the use of jalapenos inside.

We were quite full of greasy food by the end of our meal.  We left feeling quite satisfied with the meal and the service.  At the beginning of our meal, our server asked us if this was our first time here.  We told her it was.  She promised us that it wouldn’t be our last.  She was quite right.

Bonnie Jean's Soul Food Cafe on Urbanspoon

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13 comments on “Bonnie Jean’s Soul Food Cafe”

  1. The waffle looks kinda sad 🙁 Like the Leggo my Eggo brand!
    You will have to do a post on your mom’s fried chicken. Does she do it salt/pepper style as well 🙂

  2. I’m definitely going to ask my mom to fry up some chicken next time I’m home and try to blog about it. She doesn’t do salt pepper style. Strangely, I’ve never heard of salt pepper style until reading Kirk’s posts.

  3. hi kirbie
    cool that you went to bonnie jean’s. i went there last spring with a friend and we both had their $5 lunch special which was fried catfish. i’d been meaning to come back and try their other stuff.
    looks like you guys had a pretty good meal there –
    by the way, i’ve been enjoying your blog, especially the posts on your boyfriend’s trip to the Philippines.

  4. Those fried Mac N Cheese balls looks awesome! I love Mac N Cheese, so I’m probably biased 🙂 There are some great soul food places here in LA as well!

  5. Nice post. Always wanted to try soul food but didn’t know of a good place. Now I know where to go! From the menu on their website, the family size meal with 10 pc chicken and sides $25 looks appealing…

  6. another place to try soul food is sister pee wee’s on imperial ave. sister pee wee makes a different set of entree every day. there is no set menu – it depends on what she makes.

  7. Wow, $5 for lunch special sounds great! I did see fried catfish on the menu and I think that’s what I want to try next time.
    I’m happy to hear you like Boyfriend’s posts. I think they are really funny. I’m going to try to get him to do his take on some of our food adventures after he finished up his Philippines series.

  8. I’m sure there are some great places in LA. Everything tastes better in LA!

  9. I didn’t even see the family sized meal, but I agree, it sounds like a great deal!

  10. Ooh, I love places that have no set menu. Thanks for the recommendation!

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