It’s not often you hear about a chef from Milton working side by side with Robert Irvine.

Irvine, a celebrity chef, has appeared on a number of Food Network programs, including Dinner: Impossible, Worst Cooks in America, and Restaurant: Impossible.

But that’s exactly what Jason Vance did, and now he has moved back to his hometown to open up a restaurant he simply calls Ada’s Restaurant.

The restaurant is named after his grandmother Ada, who he got his cooking inspiration from.

“I grew up with my grandmother around the kitchen watching her cook,” Jason said. “We grew up with a lot of southern cooking because of her.”

The Vance’s have generations upon generations of family in Santa Rosa County, including Ada. That’s why Jason decided to come back to open up a restaurant in his hometown.

“I just missed it here, I got home sick,” Jason said.

And when he returned, his family was there to help him. The restaurant is completely family owned and operated. He even hired some of his friends he grew up with when he was living in Milton.

“We just opened the doors on Monday,” said Joann Vance, who helps run the restaurant with her son.

This is Jason’s first restaurant endeavor ever, although he has worked in restaurants for years.

“He was a chef for five years in South Carolina, and he worked with Robert Irvine,” Joann said. “He went to culinary school in Tallahassee, but this is where he’s from, so he came back.”

Nestled in the Chantilly Place strip mall near West Florida Baptist Church on Highway 90 and next to Southern Seafood, the restaurant serves up just about everything southern.

On top of coming back to his hometown, Jason said he believes in giving back. So he got in contact with Locklin Tech’s culinary department and offered to open up his kitchen to students to give them a firsthand experience working in a restaurant.

“I wanted to give them real world experience, because I didn’t have that when I was in culinary school,” Jason said. “We want to work with these local students to get them into a food working environment.”

And those students were hard at work preparing meals all week long with help from Jason.

“We have daily specials like chicken and dumplings, meatloaf and fried chicken,” Joann said. “We are a bit on the southern side.”

Joann said the restaurant serves up lunch specials that include an entrée, two sides and bread for $6.99.

Right now, Joann said they just serve lunch and dinner. She said that the restaurant is opened from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch and then closed from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. At 5 p.m. they reopen and serve dinner until 9 p.m.

Location: 5701 Highway 90 Milton
Hours of Operation: MS 11 a.m. -3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Phone number: 626-7188