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By: Ashlee Thomas

Miami is a guaranteed A+ city for the “let’s get out to brunch” craze. With all the diversity found in South Florida, one is bound to find Southern Comfort food, Latin sabor, and Creole cuisine within city blocks of one another. This brunch spotlight is the perfect foodie guide on where to find all-American Soul Food cuisine in Miami’s heritage neighborhoods known as Historic Overtown and Liberty City.

Overtown

Overtown is undergoing a major transformation, like many urban cores across the nation. What once was a bustling all-black neighborhood in the early 20s now serves as the future cultural melting pot for newcomers to Miami looking to live in the heart of the city. Overtown is certainly changing as is evident with new buildings sprouting up where abandoned and vacant lots once lived. There’s a bittersweet story for this quaint city but the cultural gems that matter keep the city shining for the locals and tourists alike.

In an ever-changing city, folks want to enjoy the familiar and Jackson’s Soul Food delivers every time. Located in the heart of Overtown near the historic Zion Baptist Church where they raise their heavenly voices each Sunday, Jackson’s Soul Food has been delivering the savory blessings of Southern cuisine since 1946. Jackson’s Soul Food is a great place to bring your bestie for brunch any day of the week. Enjoy the variety of smothered, fried, baked, sautéed, and grilled finger-licking entrees. Use the sweet cornbread to soak up all the flavors on the plate, laugh with friends and commune with family at Jackson’s. Parking is limited in the lot but free street parking is in abundance. No reservation required. Note that it does get quite busy during brunch. Large parties should definitely call ahead for a table. 950 NW 3rd Avenue, Miami, FL 33136.

A newcomer to Overtown’s 3rd Avenue Corridor is a local favorite, Lil Green House Grill. Coined Neo-Soul cuisine, their menu boasts a contemporary take on Southern Fare. Opening at 11:00 am for brunch, Lil Green House Grill’s menu has soul food tapas ready to serve: BBQ rib tips, smoked wings, and seafood cakes to whet the palate. This quaint space is great for an intimate gathering or for a couple of friends who want to avoid the large dining crowds and just enjoy one another over a good plate of contemporary soul food. Try the black bean burger with a side of mac-n-cheese and collard greens. Hungry? Go for the seafood cake dinner or half BBQ chicken dinner. Enjoy wine or beer from the bar and have a chat with the owners who are always present with smiles and ready to serve. 1300 NW 3rd Avenue, Miami, FL 33136.

Liberty City

Much like Overtown, Liberty City is a traditionally African American neighborhood where many families from the American South settled during the early development of South Florida. As time would have it, as many residents moved farther north, a massive public housing complex - one of the largest in the US to house the working class and vulnerable population - was dropped into the city. The effects of riots in the 80s saw a mass exodus of commerce from the area. Presently, the city is a caterpillar in a cocoon, going through transformation, growing and hungry to spread its wings so it can open its door in rebirth. The public housing complex will be no more in the next five years, only a story in a history book. Apartments are being made ready for new residents and businesses are being beckoned with promising rents and incentives from the city.

With all the impending changes to come, MLK Restaurant is like the giving tree of liberty city – always there, ready to share the comfort food that binds one to its history amid so much change. MLK is where one will find an array of Miami’s local black community. Blue collar to professional, all walks of life enjoy the cuisine at MLK. It’s as homecooked as home-cooking can get: smothered chicken, grits, eggs, sausage, toast, jelly with a cup of joe, affordably priced and seasoned with love. MLK serves breakfast and brunch only. This foodie spot is for the brunchsters who love vintage, history, country smells, country folk, and down-home cooking. This mom-and-pop eatery accepts walk-ins only (service keeps the tables moving, so no worries about reservations). Parking is in a gravel lot on the side of this homely restaurant. 2469 NW 62nd Street, Miami, FL 33147.