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Bakersfield's soul food restaurant celebrates...

Posted at 6:45 PM, Feb 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-19 21:46:37-05

Black history month is a time to honor African-Americans who have played a key part in American history. And it's also a good time to explore the history we have here in Kern County.

Very few in Bakersfield have experienced down-home cooking with roots from the south. But one family brought their grandmother's recipe’s here and it has become very popular.

J’s place is where southern cooking meets central California.

J’s place started long ago in Lora Bolden’s Oklahoma kitchen. She passed her comfort-style recipes to her daughter, Vicki Hill who passed them on to her son, Dirk Johnson. 

"We took every recipe she had and we made it happen, said Dirk Johnson, Owner of J's place.

Johnson and his wife oversee the day to day operations and within five years of opening J's place, he realized the demand was so high that it was time to open a bigger place

Soul food is the art of old southern cooking, a style created in the 1960's during American slavery. Black slaves were given only the left over cuts of meat from their masters, which they turned into their own culinary creations.

"They took the greens with the hammocks in it and made that a meal because the hammock gave it the flavor and nobody knew that because they thought it was a bad piece of meat but actually it turned out to be a great piece of meat," said Johnson.   

J's place is celebrating ten years of business and what their family is most proud of is how their soul food has drawn a diverse crowd.

"It's a beautiful feeling to have everyone wanted to come and taste your food," said Johnson.