Topeka native LaVale Jackson has always known that he wanted to feed people.
“I’ve always wanted to be a chef in a restaurant setting or kitchen, " Jackson said. "I’d seen a thing about pop-up kitchens or ghost kitchens. I knew there was only a few restaurants serving catfish for people who don’t want to drive clear to Kansas City.”
In August, Jackson opened 7.8.5 Kitchen, a nod to the region’s area code and his hometown, at 2028 S.W. Gage Blvd.
He purchased the location in southwest Topeka following his graduation from Hutchinson Community College and began serving delivery-only meals out of the space.
7.8.5 has soul, comfort food dishes
Jackson said the inspiration for 7.8.5 comes from traditional soul and comfort food dishes. The menu includes fried catfish, mac and cheese, wings, greens and cornbread, and street tacos. Customers can choose side options like potato wedges, fried okra, red beans and rice, and more.
Children eat for $6, and 7.8.5 Kitchen also serves dessert.
Since Jackson is the only chef at 7.8.5, he started out serving customers with deliveries through EatStreet and DoorDash. He has gradually expanded to delivery and carry-out orders. He has plans for a dine-in option in the future.
Jackson said he will continue to fill a niche in the Topeka community that he believes wasn’t being met.
“I did a lot of research, and it’s been good. There are slower days than others,” said Jackson.
New menu items will include burritos, rice bowls
He recommends customers call at least 15 minutes ahead of their arrival to pick up orders to ensure their food is ready for them. 7.8.5 has a presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, where the general public can view a full online menu and connect with the restaurant directly.
Jackson plans to add new menu items going forward, including burritos and rice bowls. He also hopes to offer a catering option beginning later this year if all goes well.
“I definitely want to have catering up by the end of the year," he said. "I’ll be monitoring the revenue over the next few months.”
7.8.5 Kitchen offering 30% off right now
7.8.5 is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed on Sunday. Jackson is offering 15% off meals and sides through Jan. 30, available on Facebook. Frequent customers can also take advantage of a loyalty card that puts them in the running to earn free drinks and desserts.
To place a carry-out order with 7.8.5 Kitchen, call 785-408-1440, or use the EatStreet or DoorDash apps for delivery orders.
This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Topeka's 7.8.5 Kitchen has soul, comfort menu with carry-out, delivery