Best of Springfield

Best Soul Food

MJ’s Fish & Chicken Express

BEST SOUL FOOD
MJ’s Fish & Chicken Express


MJ’s Fish & Chicken Express has made a name for itself in the soul food category. What started as a food trailer and catering business has now moved to a brick-and-mortar location, although it’s off the beaten path and easy to miss if you’re not looking for it.

There’s nothing fancy here. Much like the exterior (which has little by way of signage), the interior of MJ’s is also quite nondescript. There’s one TV, a few beer signs and beige painted walls.  Seating consists of a handful of four-tops and several large tables for groups. There are also seats at the bar. If I had to use one word, spartan would come to mind. But you’re not coming to MJ’s for the ambience. You’re coming for the kind of food that satisfies some deep yearnings. This place screams down home soul food.  

MJ’s main focuses are fried fish, shrimp and chicken – and they know how to do them right.  The owners have frying down to perfection. Portions are large, so it’s best to come hungry or share with a friend. Even the “junior” sandwiches are generous portions. You can get catfish, walleye, shrimp or chicken in lunch or dinner portions that come with hand-cut fries.  If you can’t decide on one, you can order any combination of fish, chicken or shrimp in a combo that comes with toast and fries. The fries are a must-try. They are crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  Looking for something else?  Don’t worry, MJ’s has a slew of other tempting sides like coleslaw, onion rings, clam strips, fried okra or fried mushrooms as a side instead of fries. Thinking of visiting but looking for some low-calorie options? You can always order your sandwich grilled instead of fried, but the only lettuce on the menu is a topping for the burgers or pork tenderloins, not in a salad. This is a diet-buster of a menu, but for good reason, and well worth a visit if you haven’t yet tried it.

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