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Sweet Jam Starts Southern-Frying on NE MLK Jr. Blvd.

It touts a chef who used to cook for Aretha Franklin

Restaurateur Frank Taylor in front of his new Sweet Jam on NE MLK
Dina Avila/EPDX

A new taste of Southern cooking is moving into the former Horn of Africa venue at 5237 NE MLK Jr. Blvd. Restaurateur Frank Taylor tells Eater he will open the second location of Sweet Jam on Monday, September 18, at 7 a.m. Taylor’s flagship Sweet Jam got cooking in 2016, at 8775 SW Canyon Lane, near Beaverton.

With more than 25 years experience, long-time friend and partner Jerry Nottage will rule the burners. Nottage grew up in the South, and according to Taylor, he used to regularly cook for and collaborate on dishes with singer Aretha Franklin at Detroit’s Seldom Blues (Taylor was co-owner of the restaurant).

“You talk about true Southern food,” says Taylor, “you can’t get any better than someone who has cooked it his entire life.”

Sweet Jam 2.0 will build upon the original location’s breakfast and lunch offerings and add dinner. Highlights include chicken and waffles, jambalaya, collard greens, fried catfish, and dirty rice. A Texas native, Taylor says he grew up eating everything on the menu.

Taylor believes hospitality and good service are “first and foremost,” and the restaurant will offer traditional waiter service. Like the original Sweet Jam, the speakers will always play blues and jazz, with live bands on weekends.

If you want to get an early look, and help the victims of hurricane Harvey in the process, Taylor is holding a fundraiser at the new Sweet Jam on Thursday, September 14. Taylor hails from Dickinson, Texas, which is located near Houston, and he tells Eater his family members were directly affected. Proceeds will go to a local Dickinson church.

Sweet Jam

5237 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., Portland, OR Visit Website