I grew up in Texas and spent nearly 20 years exposing my taste buds to BBQ. I didn’t think much about what I was actually learning, because going out for BBQ was something you just “did.” In college, I studied Nutrition and Food Science. I knew I had a love for food, the science behind it and the environment of restaurant: a place to explore flavors, innovative concepts, and real people that brought passion to the table. I worked in several restaurants learning more about food, the production of, customer service and expectations, food safety, and more. It was all relevant to my studies and I loved applying and testing my knowledge in the field.
In 2007, I gave birth to the most amazing son whom I named Jadon. Jadon suffered a stroke at birth and later developed Cerebral Palsy and a grand mal seizure disorder. He was a fighter and a survivor since birth. I knew that our future would be bright, but challenging nonetheless. In 2010, I earned my Master of Science Degree in Human Nutrition. I knew the power behind healthy, healing, whole foods, and how it would ultimately strengthen my son in ways, beyond words.
In 2013, Jen and myself crossed paths. We were both bartending and through many conversations and spending time together…we realized that we were both dreamers. Jen started working and cooking at the early age of 14. She worked at a very prominent resort in the Northwoods of Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Learning, shadowing and absorbing the techniques of some of the greatest chefs she had ever seen…instilled a passion for Jen at a very young age. She too, hadn’t realized how her experience of the industry, hospitality and people would later pay off in the best way possible.
Jen graduated in 2006 with a degree in Business, and went on to become General Manager of a few businesses. It wasn’t until she had been offered a job as General Manager of a local Bowling alley in Ripon, Wisconsin…that we realized that something BIG was about to happen.
One day, Jen came home and said, “Hey, wanna open a restaurant?” As I laughed and looked at her, I realized she wasn’t kidding. Without a single hesitation, I said “Yes!” We’d be lying if we didn’t let you in on the fact that we had a few disagreements on what kind of restaurant it would be. She was adamant about a Supper Club, and I was adamant about a BBQ joint. When the smoke cleared the air, we were going to do BBQ. A Smokin’ HOT BBQ joint!
The concept was inspired from Texas, and the rest…100% written, designed and created by Jen and myself. Our backgrounds only helped in creating an incredibly diverse menu that vegans, vegetarians & meat lovers would be sure to enjoy!! The name, J’s BBQ was what I had envisioned naming the BBQ joint of my dreams…after Jadon, because as a family, we would do whatever it takes to make J’s BBQ nothing less than AMAZING in honor of him! It would be our lifeline, our present, our future with and for Jadon. J’s BBQ not working, was NOT an option. We were determined. We were meant to be a family, a team, to do great things and to constantly support the notion that hard work does pay off! Anyone can reach their dreams, you just have to believe in yourself, “see” your dream and never feel that you can’t do absolutely EVERYTHING it takes to get there.