Making it in the restaurant business is hard work, as evidenced by how many businesses come and go. For a family-owned restaurant to make it to 40 years in business is a feat to be celebrated.
That's where we find ourselves in this week's Business Pulse, celebrating the 40th anniversary of J's Restaurant in Three Star Mall. May 7, 1983 was the day Jean-Claude Petit took over ownership and began operating J's Restaurant. Jean-Claude's son, Jean-Claude Petit Jr., current owner of J's, was at his father's side from the beginning and learned the restaurant business at the feet of his father.
It's hard to imagine anybody has witnessed more of the history of Three Star Mall than Jean-Claude Jr. "We've been in the mall in three different locations throughout the 40 years. I've seen three different property managers, soon to be four. Several items have come and gone on the menu and we're proud to present a new menu just out this week, celebrating our 40 years. I've been working here for 32 of the 40 years when I began work with dad when I was 16 and hopefully it will be a family tradition that I can pass on when my son, Jean-Claude III, gets older," Jean-Claude Jr. said.
Long-time customers might remember J's being in a couple of other locations before it found its long-time home on the corner near the stage. "We were originally where Cato is now in a smaller space, then we were on the back corner of the former Goody's location from 1993 to the middle of 1994. Then, we moved to where we are now.," Jr. said.
J's began as a truly mom-and-pop operation as Jean-Claude Sr. and his wife, Judy, ran the restaurant on their own. "At one time, it was just dad in the kitchen and mom as a waitress. They had one other employee and that was it. We've evolved from that to having close to 15 employees," Jean-Claude Jr. said.
J's offers a wide variety of food to fit your mood, and with their new, eight-page menu, there's plenty to try, but some menu items stand out as customer favorites. "Catfish has always been No. 1 for us. Prime rib is coming in a close second since we've started doing that about a year ago on weekends. That's really taken off. Of course, we've always been famous for our fish, our biggest baked potatoes and our salad bar," Jr. said. "Also, Curly-Qs. We were the first ones to bring curly fries to McMinnville. We've got a 30-year high school reunion coming up this fall and I had some people who moved away after high school reach out to me to ask if we still sold them because they remember coming here as a kid to eat curly fries," he added.
While reflecting on 40 years at the mall, Jean-Claude Jr. is excited about the future of both the restaurant and Three Star Mall. "I see a brighter future coming around the corner. We've been the longest-tenured free-standing store in the interior of Three Star Mall with no plans of leaving any time in the future," he said.
to help vet
It's great to highlight businesses trying to make a difference in the community and it's even greater when two businesses combine to help someone in need. Trey Hobbs with Hobbs Home Repair and Cameron LeDuc of No. 2 Septic did just that recently when they combined forces to help out an elderly veteran and his wife with a problem.
The couple had a dangerous driveway which had fallen into disrepair following recent rains. A large hole had washed out which the pair placed planks across, creating a hazardous situation. Trey said, "I work for Manchester Fire, as well, and my wife texted me and said there was a veteran whose driveway was nearly gone. There was an approximately 5-foot hole in it and his nurse's vehicle actually went off into it trying to get to him. For EMS, or anyone else, that road was nearly impassable. So Cameron LeDuc, who owns No. 2 Septic, and I teamed up. We went out there, got a game plan, bought the tile, paid our guys and we didn't charge them a thing. We were just trying to help them out so his nurses could get to him and for EMS to get to him and for him to be able to get to his doctors."
In a world full of bad news, a tale of selflessness is news in itself. "The news of this reached all the way to News Channel 5 and they reached out to us to do an interview. It was amazing how the community came together and was ready to pitch in at the snap of a finger. This is a prime example of Warren County coming together and being strong. Cameron and I did this because this is the least we could do for someone who fought for our freedom who didn't even know us," Trey said.
"Jeff Grissom posted on Facebook trying to get the couple some help and Cameron and I contacted him and said, 'Let's do it.' The couple was going to have to reschedule their doctor appointments because the road was so impassable but now we made that possible for them," Trey said.
Hobbs Home Repair and No. 2 Septic can be found on Facebook. No. 2 Septic can also be contacted at (931) 259-3342 and is located at 417 Sunny Side Heights. Hobbs Home Repair can be reached at (931) 743-2671.
Until next time,
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Thanks for reading and if you have business news you'd like to get out to the community, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (931) 473-2191.