Mama and Son Soul Food Kitchen: Family matters

Story by Haley Boyce, Izzy Burks, Charleston Bowles / Inform Muncie

Editor's Note: This story was originally published in October, 2022.



Let your faith be bigger than fear.

Those are some of the phrases across the walls inside of Mama and Son Soul Food Kitchen, located at Charles and Mulberry streets in downtown Muncie.

Mama and Son Soul Food Kitchen, formerly named Mama Bond’s Soul Food Kitchen, is located inside Historic Rose Court and marked by its circular image of Dominique Isom, “Son,” and Consuela Nixon, “Mama,” at the storefront.

During his childhood, Isom noticed how successful his family was when they worked together and knew they could transition to the business aspect by opening a restaurant. He wanted customers to feel like they received a home-cooked meal when dining at Mama and Son Soul Food Kitchen, and knew it was possible by emphasizing family.

Nixon feels inspired when she hears compliments about the food and atmosphere from customers and said it gives her fulfillment, but also motivation.

“It encourages me, it makes me want to keep going and keep doing what I’m doing and kind of improve a little bit as well,” Nixon said. “It’s just a good feeling … to know that our food is pleasing someone because we cook with love and for us to show that love, it’s just awesome to me.”

Isom, a 2007 graduate of Muncie Central High School, played football for the Bearcats and ranks No. 3 on the all-time rushing list. He played semi-pro football and made the Indianapolis Colts practice squad, but a knee injury ended his career shortly after. Isom believes there are similarities between football and running a restaurant that helped ease the adjustment.

“I treat it like I’m a rookie or I’m a freshman in college,” Isom said. “How am I going to make myself a standout to the coaches, which will be now will be the community? How can I be a standout to them, to let them recognize what kind of person I am or what I bring to the table.”

Mama and Son Soul Food kitchen offers several specials, including a 10 percent discount to customers on their first visit. For students, the kitchen offers free meals to those who can show they have a 4.0 or higher GPA. Students who are on the A and B honor roll receive a certain percentage off their order. 

Isom compared visitors to Mama and Son Soul Food Kitchens to spectators coming to football games and cherishes the moments of customers smiling and enjoying the atmosphere.

“To me, seeing them being satisfied, happy, taking pictures of the food before they eat … that’s like in football terms, being scouted and being recognized and knowing what your skill is and then knowing that you’re on the right path,” Isom said.

Ball State student Carlin James visited the restaurant and tried their fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and a piece of their chocolate cake.

“I really love this kind of food because it reminds me of home as a college student [and] that’s really comforting,” James said. “You could definitely tell it was made with love and care.”

Mama and Son Soul Food Kitchen connects with customers through suggestion boards, where visitors can tell them what they’d like to eat, and if Isom and Nixon like the idea, they make the meal for one day. They congratulate whoever made the suggestion by rewarding them with a free meal.

Isom acknowledges the difficulties that could arise with being a family-run business. However, he’s confident Mama and Son Soul Food Kitchen will get through those situations because of their foundation and support system.

“We’re just like a normal family, we’re all going to bump heads every once in a while, but at the end of the day, we still are going to support and help each other out,” Isom said. “We’re going to be there for each other, at the end of the day we might get a little frustrated but we’re still in it together.”

When James visited, she said the restaurant had a family-like energy to it, with several of the customers knowing each other and others coming in to support the Nixon and Isom family.

Mama and Son Soul Food Kitchen hopes to attract students and community members through their open-door policy. Nixon reiterated the restaurant welcomes everyone, whether you are a first-time customer or a regular.

“Our motto is family first,” Nixon said, “I want them to feel like they are a part of our family. This is not just a business, you’re part of our family once you come in these doors [and] we don’t see you as a guest, we don’t see you as just someone spending their money [as a] customer, we see you as family.”

All Inform Muncie articles are written by students in the School of Journalism and Strategic Communication in a classroom environment with a faculty advisor.


More from The Daily

This Week's Digital Issue

Loading Recent Classifieds...