City of Ferguson Welcomes J & C BBQ and BLUES
Jerome and Cathy Jenkins and Ferguson officials at a ribbon cutting ceremony on March 27, 2015
The Jenkins family business empire continues to grow, and downtown Ferguson is growing right along with it. With a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 27, owners Jerome and Cathy Jenkins announced the opening of J&C BBQ and Blues at 304 South Florissant Road. It comes two years after opening their first restaurant Cathy’s Kitchen at 250 S. Florissant.
“Our family goal over the next 20 years is to open up grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants in the black community, so we’re on our way,” Jerome Jenkins said.
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III applauded the Jenkins’ ambitions. “This is a perfect example of a minority business owner in the Ferguson community who’s found a great home here and now decided to expand right here in Ferguson. It just goes to show the confidence that they have in the area. And it’s more than just confidence, because they’ve experienced what this area can bring to their business, and how they can be a part of this great economic corridor.”
From its charcoal-fueled pits to the outdoor seating area, Jenkins said much of the restaurant is modeled after the barbecue and blues scene in western Tennessee. “It’s really thinking more of Memphis: good barbecue, with the music, the walk around patio area outside,” Jenkins said. With a karaoke machine and live music on the weekends, Jenkins said they wanted the restaurant to foster a family atmosphere.
“It’s more acoustic blues, so the sound isn’t too loud,” he said. “It’s really so you can talk and you can be with your family at the same time, but still have the music element involved.”
Cathy’s Kitchen, which opened in July 2013, features dishes from places such as Chicago, Texas, New Mexico and California. Given that restaurant’s success on South Florissant, Jenkins said there was never any question about where they wanted their next restaurant to be.
Cross-Country Trip Inspires Opening of Cathy’s Kitchen
Drawing from inspiration gathered during a cross-country trip, the Jenkins family decided to pursue their love of cooking and open a diner-style restaurant in the heart of downtown Ferguson.
Cathy’s Kitchen celebrated its grand opening on Mon., July 8. The eclectic menu is filled with items that Cathy Jenkins, co-owner and chef, perfected during the family’s travels across the country, when she had the opportunity to work side-by-side with expert chefs to learn classic regional recipes and dishes.
The menu features Chicago-style, deep-dish pizza; Italian beef (from a recipe picked up in Chicago); and fish tacos from New Mexico, which are currently the restaurant’s top seller. According to a news release, Jerome Jenkins, Cathy’s husband and co-owner of Cathy’s Kitchen, also highly recommends the Fried Shrimp with Mild Sauce from Chicago, which he says is cooked in corn meal batter and will not taste the same unless it is served in a Chinese take-out box, allowing it to cook just a little bit longer.
The news release also provided the following information: “The restaurant is a new business venture for the Jenkins family, but Jerome and Cathy have owned businesses in St. Louis for decades, beginning with a hand-cut, handmade silk necktie business that opened in 1992, which started with door-to-door sales and eventually moved into St. Louis Center in Downtown St. Louis. Although the necktie business was somewhat short-lived, Jerome and Cathy were undeterred and started a new business by developing a chemical that pre-treats fabric in order to print permanent images on it with inkjet printers. This one-of-a-kind product, called Bubble Jet Set 2000, has gained global recognition from companies such as Disney, Hewlett Packard, Mattel, NASA and more.
“With one successful business under their belt, Jerome and Cathy decided to sit down with their three children and talk about doing something that they would all love, and since Cathy and their two daughters loved to cook, the family began to set their sights on opening a restaurant. They began by getting a manufacturing license so Cathy could distribute her own line of spices and seasonings, then she began catering area school functions and other places in the Ferguson community, and eventually she and Jerome got advice and encouragement from other businesses in the district to learn tricks of the trade when opening a restaurant.”