Sometime last year, I kept hearing “Heart & Soul” on repeat. No, not that earworm of a piano duet, but just the two words “Heart and Soul,” followed by, “You gotta try it.” From friends, on Facebook, there was just a general buzz about it. The awesome restaurant at a gas station.
1) The buzz was right, and…
2) The place really was attached to a gas station.
Yes, technically adjacent to it, but for all intents and purposes, it shared a space with a filling station, just as so many barbeque and fast-food joints do. But this was not stereotypical gas station food.
Heart & Soul easily has one of the most diverse menus in the area, with offerings ranging from plate-sized omelets, Bananas Foster French Toast, and a Peach Cobbler Waffle (breakfast is available throughout the day) to more highfalutin fare like Sesame Ginger Salmon and Caribbean Grouper with Creamy Grits.
Add in po-boys, sandwiches, and salads, and your head starts spinning from all the choices.
It didn’t take long for Heart & Soul to outgrow its humble beginnings, and it recently moved in to the old Cici’s location off Highway 80 in Brandon, just a stone’s throw from its previous gas-station home.
I was able to go check out Heart & Soul’s new digs this week, and I’m happy to report that the quality and diversity of food is exactly the same. There’s just a lot more room (31 tables and booths and 12 chairs at the bar) for happy customers and trust me: If you eat there, you have to be trying not to be happy.
On this visit, I tried the Soft-Shell Crab BLT (minus the “T”), sweet potato fries with powdered sugar, and the pecan cobbler, which is pretty much pecan pie in cobbler form, smothered in twin mounds of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. All of it was just as delectable as it sounds.
The location is still in transition. According to the manager I spoke to, Travis Adams, there are a lot of changes coming: TVs, an electric fireplace, artwork for the walls, wingback chairs for some of the two-tops, and couches for the waiting area. What the restaurant (temporarily) lacks in atmosphere due to its in-the-works status, though, is more than made up for by the quality of food and the friendliness of the staff.
When Adams says “My heart is taking care of the guests,” you can tell he means it. And he has the smiles of his attentive staff and appreciative customers to back it up. They truly “heart” their customers – and that’s why Eat Jackson “hearts” Heart & Soul.
Have you tried this Brandon gem? What’s your favorite dish on the Heart & Soul menu?