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J'Way Café
(now closed) J'Way Café

Boston

The best things are often hidden in the unlikeliest of places, like a pearl in an oyster or a good show on NBC. Or soul food in a bookstore basement, like J'Way Café.

Nestled comfortably downstairs in Jamaicaway Books & Gifts, this new soul foodery serves up delicious traditional southern soups, sammies, and desserts in a carpeted 16-seat spot replete with a built-in wall of yellow bookshelves, glass top/iron tables, reading chairs, and framed classic movie posters, giving it a "just hanging out in your neighbor's basement" vibe without the hassle of breaking and entering, then lying about the door being unlocked. Sandwiches from below the Mason-Dixon Line include juicy, slow-cooked Tennessee pulled pork topped w/ creamy cole slaw; Jamaican jerk chicken piled on a bulkie roll and sided w/ beans and rice; and fried Mississippi catfish plated w/ chips and a "chunky" potato salad, which is much better than the "payday" potato salad. They've also got liquid sustenance, like thick, spicy Texas chili, jambalaya, a sausage, chicken, shrimp packed Louisiana gumbo served w/ a homemade cornbread muffin, and creamy, potato/onion chunked New England clam chowder, or as they call it in Rhode Island, "much better than our stupid clam chowder".

If you're just looking for café staples/sweets, JWC's also got coffees/teas/cider to go with desserts like chocolate pecan pie, peach cobbler, tea cakes, and even a sweet potato pie, proving that sometimes good places can hide bad things, like vegetables.

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1. J'Way Café 676 Centre St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Nestled comfortably downstairs in Jamaicaway Books & Gifts, this new soul foodery serves up delicious traditional southern soups, sammies, and desserts in a carpeted 16-seat spot replete with a built-in wall of yellow bookshelves, glass top/iron tables, reading chairs, and framed classic movie posters, giving it a "just hanging out in your neighbor's basement" vibe without the hassle of breaking and entering, then lying about the door being unlocked.

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