Soup du Jour entertains

The Rob McGaha Quintet plays jazz music at Soup du Jour, Feb. 19. The band plays and sings as guests are served hors d’oeuvres including soup, salad, potatoes, stuffed green peppers and various desserts. | Photo by Abby Ott

By Abby Ott

One might feel transported to Charleston, Memphis or New Orleans when attending a jazz concert at Soup du Jour.

Located on South Liberty Street in downtown Jackson, Soup du Jour’s atmosphere is immediately inviting: mood lighting, silent Charlie Chaplin films playing on the wall, brick interiors, high ceilings, hardwood floors, intimate seating and attractive wall art.

Soup du Jour’s first jazz dinner, with the Rod McGaha Quintet, was in such high demand that people were waiting on the sidewalk to get in to the restaurant and be seated.

Jazz musician McGaha is a critically acclaimed trumpeter and the audience listened attentively as he played songs by a number of jazz musicians, the easy highlight being “All Blues” from the No. 1-selling jazz record of all time, “Kind of Blue,” by Miles Davis. The audience clapped and grooved to other familiar melodies as well.

Jazz is all about improvisation, and the staff at Soup du Jour had to possess inventiveness as well in order to accommodate everyone who attended the dinner. Nonetheless, they seated everyone gracefully and patiently.

Before McGaha started playing, guests chatted with one another, discussing how much they liked the restaurant, the owners and what they were doing for the Jackson area. Most guests greeted the owners as if they had been friends for years, which was often the case.
The owners are not just overseers; they seat guests, serve people and greet friends.

“Tonight everybody has the same interests,” said Cynthia Manuel, owner of Soup du Jour. “It doesn’t matter about your economic status.
Tonight everybody is on the same page with good music.”

It appears everyone on staff at Soup du Jour is keen on providing the Jackson community with quality food, music and entertainment. The patrons were served heavy hors d’oeuvres, which included soup, salad, seasoned potatoes, a stuffed green pepper and an array of desserts. Chef Betty Woods makes all of the fresh cuisine, from cookies to fruit tea to homemade casseroles.

Once a month, the restaurant hosts various jazz performers. Manuel said she is adamant about having only superior jazz artists come to the space.

Being a small venue, seating is limited, so purchasing tickets in advance is of utmost importance. The cost is $15 for the dinner and the jazz concert. The quality of food, music and experience is good at Soup du Jour if one is searching for a reason to dress up, an occasion to celebrate or a stellar musical affair to attend.

Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Soup du Jour offers a different daily menu. Every item on the menu is under $5. To see the menu, contact information and details about upcoming events, go to

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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.