Collins Dream Kitchen, also known as Mom’s Dream Kitchen, is the place to go for southern, country cooking you would only find in your grandmother’s home. A Jackson Institution, Collins Dream Kitchen is the manifestation of a dream come true for anyone yearning for a Southern Mama’s good cooking. You can literally taste the soul in every single bite. Everything on the buffet line is made from scratch, and there are no to-go menus, so you would do better to call to check out what’s on the line that day. Note, it’s no buffet, although the meals are very reasonably priced. There’s a dining room for those who would like to sit and enjoy their meals at the modest restaurant adorned with Bible scriptures and Christian devotional artwork. For others, there’s take-out.
As I contemplated what to order, I decided prematurely to get my meal to-go. But as I looked around the place, I felt I needed to sit in and take in the full experience. I noticed an elderly lady meticulously folding silverware in paper napkins at a table with the most content look on her face. I heard faint humming and harmonizing, and I immediately felt like I was in my grandmother’s kitchen. I chose the baked chicken. Some folks in other places may call it “chicken and gravy,” but here, it’s just good old fashioned baked chicken. I paired it with macaroni and cheese, lima beans with okra, homemade peach cobbler, and a homemade roll. A meal like this calls for only one kind of beverage – sweet tea.
There’s nothing on my plate that wasn’t blessed by Mama, herself, and I’m convinced of that. The macaroni and cheese is as homemade as they come. You could taste the egg, the milk, the butter, the real cheese. It was amazing to eat it. The lima beans were cooked just right, not undercooked, and not overcooked to the point of being mushy. It was the perfect consistency and sent me into a Sunday dinner dream….or food coma. The chicken was a tad heavy on the sodium for my personal liking, but I couldn’t stop eating it. Every bite was moist, and the pan drippings made the best of the “gravy.” Now, I’m usually not a bread eater, but this roll looked like a cross between a homemade butter roll and a handmade croissant. It was massive, too. In true down-home dining fashion, I used my roll to “sop up” my gravy from my chicken. At this point in my meal, I’ve texted a friend and informed them if I died that day, it would be from the food-induced coma at Collins and to know I passed to glory full, and happy. Then I prepared myself for the cobbler. Me oh my, this cobbler was the best cobbler I’ve ever had in a restaurant and outside of my mother’s kitchen. It had the perfect amount of crust, and I asked for lots of crust. It was buttery, sweet, and warm with a hint of tartness from the peaches. This one took me out. There I found myself, sitting in a dining room alone and in a daydream of sorts, taking in the smells, the sounds, and the songs of soulful cooking from the Jackson staple that is Collins Dream Kitchen. This isn’t a place I would recommend you frequently visit, because I’m sure it can’t be good for your cholesterol or your waistline. But, when you need to drift off into a place of maternal familiarity and southern comfort food, Collins Dream Kitchen is where you should go.