Spotlight on JT’s Soul Food Restaurant

| November 12, 2013
JT’s Soul Food Restaurant employee Deloris McKee and owner James Thomas. (Photo: Jeanie Summerville)

JT’s Soul Food Restaurant employee Deloris McKee and owner James Thomas. (Photo: Jeanie Summerville)

UP CLOSE WITH JEANIE

Whatz up, babies?

Once again, I need to share something else with you, that I feel is of great importance because I love you and I have a situation that I put in GOD’s hands and HE told me to bring it to you. So, I am, because in this thing called life, when people love you and you love them back, they should not have to suffer needlessly for anything, if you can help it. So at this time, all I’d like for you to do is sit back and feel where my heart is coming from, in the name of love.

Here’s the situation: I don’t know if you know how the media works or not so I’m going to share it with you anyway. The people in charge of their media are able to pay their staff and others by the revenue they receive from advertisers. So in turn, when businesses don’t advertise with us something’s got to give. It’s all about cause and effect. So, when you support our Everything Page that I work to bring you on a periodic basis, it allows me to keep coming to you like I’ve done out of love for the past two years. So, to help me keep sharing the love and GOD’s mission to spread that love to all of you, pick up the phone right now and call me at Frost Illustrated (260) 745-0552 or e-mail me at upclosewithjeanie@yahoo.com before you forget and say yes! I’d really hate to miss you..

With that out of the way, let’s have some fun. I’m stepping into the doors of JT’s Soul Food Restaurant that’s located where the old BJ’s Fish and Chips used to be on Pontiac Street, to interview them for their spotlight. And, what a pleasant surprise, to see Bennie Edwards here and this is what he wants you to know:

“Hello again, Frost Illustrated readers. I had the catfish dinner here before and it was excellent, that’s why I’m here again. The food is good and it’s truly soul food so I recommend that the community come out and support him in his endeavor.”

Thank you Benny and now we bring to you Mr. J.T. for your enjoyment:

“Hello, Frost Illustrated readers. My name is James Thomas and I’m the owner of JT’s Soul Food that’s located at 2516 E. Pontiac St. here in Fort Wayne and our telephone number is (260) 443-1866. I’ve been in the food business for about 30 years and I direct food services in nursing homes. I never went to culinary arts school to learn how to cook but I have my associate degree in food service because I went for management instead. My actual credentials are, I’m a certified dietary manager, which allows me to work in various hospitals, nursing homes and food services. I’m also a certified food protection professional but, as far as, being in the restaurant business, it’s been about seven years.

“We started off in Southtown Mall, moved to City Market, then we moved on McKinney and Hanna and now were here. I’ve been at this location for only two weeks and so far it’s been great and our old customers know where to find us now and it feels like we never stopped. We’ve had a lot of repeat business already and that makes me feel good. 

“I love cooking, it’s a ministry to me and I’m also an ordained minister. I really started loving it while working in the nursing homes because I’m dealing with people that can’t do for themselves and I love pleasing them through food, it’s a joy. But at the restaurant, its work but I enjoy that too. We’re open for breakfast Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Our lunch and dinner hours are Monday through Saturday 11a.m. to 9 p.m. and our menu is pretty standard for a soul food restaurant. But, our chicken wings are absolutely wonderful because we use vinegar hot wing sauces and barbeque honey. Our customers especially love our greens because there’re fresh from the garden or fresh from a grocery store, not canned. I know that other restaurants use canned greens but when you taste ours, you’ll be able to tell the difference.

“Our customers also love our sweet potato pies, peach cobbler and pound cake and on Sundays, we’re open from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Because at JT’s Soul Food on Sundays, we call it The Saints Place, since this is the place, that all the saints come marching in to after they’ve left the house of the Lord. So, they can eat their chicken and dressing, smothered pork chops, greens, yams, black eye peas, fish, pig feet and whatever they want, we try to have it. Because man cannot live by bread alone and we make sure of that. There’s nothing better than having something nice to eat after they’ve given the word of GOD. 

“Also, on Sundays our meals are two for $20 and consist of two dinners of your choice from the menu, two drinks and two desserts. We make it very adorable here and so far, it’s has been excellent. We’re not a bargain deal but we try to accommodate our community and we also try to make sure that we have what you want. We’ve had absolutely no complaints and we even went back to the old down south soda pops and Faygo. We do what we do here, so it can be a good visit because I think, everybody deserves a good JT’s soul experience. 

“How did I learn to cook so well? I was about six or seven years old when I starting learning how to cook from the late Alice Wright. She was one of the first female bus drivers here in Fort Wayne and I actually lived with her as a child and she loved to cook and sell dinners. So, she would have me frying chicken at age seven, picking greens, making greens and things of that nature and we would just cook, cook, cook. At the age of 10 or 11, my sister Carla would beg me to skip school, so I could cook for her and our mom, since our mother didn’t really like to cook. So I’d skip school and cook so when they came home we’d all had a good meal. I can also make the best pound cakes, just by throwing stuff together that I learned as a child. Also, in the winter time, I serve a lot of pound cakes and sweet potato pies even when I wasn’t working in the restaurant business.”

So in turn, I had to ask him this question: “Is your sister Carla, that had you skipping school to cook, older than you?”

“No, she’s a couple of years younger and she’s a registered nurse now and she cannot cook. Or shall I say, she doesn’t cook. Her husband does all of the cooking and that’s fine too because I know she eats well. 

“So I want you to come down to JT’s Soul Food restaurant and don’t speculate just participate and enjoy the food that we prepare. If you think that something isn’t right, we’ll make it right because we don’t want anyone dissatisfied or to have a bad experience, just tell me and we’ll correct it. I want everyone in this community to know that we need to support our own African American Restaurants and we need to be long suffering with some of us and we need to learn how to patronize and support each other and I’ll say this, if you have what the people want and if you treat them with the respect and dignity, they’ll come wherever you are. I’m also the father of six children two sons and four daughters and my baby girl Kyla does most of the baking here and my son Jerimey is my evening cook and he’s excellent.”

Here’s what employee Deloris McKee had to say:

Hello Frost Illustrated readers. My name is Deloris McKee and I’m the Breakfast Specialist Manager here at JT’s Soul Food restaurant from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m., and our breakfast phone number is (260) 553-6133. We’d like your support because it’s done out of love. I wanted to do something and GOD put this on my heart to do, it just fell in my lap. JT came to me one day and asked me about this restaurant and we agreed that this is something we both want to do and we’re doing it and it’s going to be a success. I talked with GOD about it and HE said, it’s okay. So HE’s going to stand by us and we’re going to give you some really good, blessed food. Our breakfast menu is out of sight so come on down and get your grits and eggs 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. several full breakfast meals for under $5 plus plenty of sides.”

Now in closing I say, great job JT and Deloris! The food was delicious and I truly enjoyed meeting the both of you and seeing your beautiful smiles. So until next week, you’ve been Up Close with Jeanie. Bye, bye babies.

P.S. If you would like the Spotlight shined upon you or someone that you know, all in the name of love, just send me an e-mail to upclosewithjeanie@yahoo.com. I’d love to hear from ya.

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