Topeka native LaVale Jackson always knew he wanted to feed people.
“I always wanted to be a chef in a restaurant or a kitchen,” Jackson said. “I had seen something about pop-up kitchens or ghost kitchens. I knew there were only a few restaurants serving catfish for people who don’t want to drive to Kansas City.
In August, Jackson opened 7.8.5 Kitchen, a nod to the area’s area code and his hometown, at 2028 SW Gage Blvd.
He purchased the location in southwest Topeka after graduating from Hutchinson Community College and began serving delivery-only meals out of the space.
7.8.5 has soul, comfort food
Jackson said the inspiration for 7.8.5 comes from traditional soulful comfort foods. 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.
Kids eat for $6, and 7.8.5 Kitchen also serves desserts.
As Jackson is the sole chef at 7.8.5, he has started serving customers with deliveries through EatStreet and DoorDash. It gradually expanded to delivery and take-out orders. He has plans for a catering option in the future.
Jackson said he would continue to fill a niche in the Topeka community that he felt was unfulfilled.
“I did a lot of research, and it was good. Some days are slower than others,” Jackson said.
New menu items will include burritos, rice bowls
He recommends customers call at least 15 minutes before they arrive 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 menu online and connect directly with the restaurant.
Jackson plans to add new menu items in the future, including burritos and rice bowls. It also hopes to offer a restaurant option from later this year if all goes well.
“I really want the restoration to be completed by the end of the year,” he said. “I’ll be watching 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 to Saturday and closed on Sunday. Jackson is offering 15% off meals and side dishes through January 30, available on Facebook. Loyal customers can also take advantage of a loyalty card that puts them in the running to win free drinks and desserts.
To place a takeout order with 7.8.5 Kitchen, call 785-408-1440 or use the EatStreet or DoorDash apps for delivery orders.