Local News

Rocky Mount Restaurant Serves Up Opportunities

Posted June 27, 1999

— A brand new restaurant inRocky Mountwill be offering more than just old-fashioned southern cooking when it opens. It is going to be serving up opportunities for people who need help getting back on their feet.

The restaurant is owned and operated by the Rocky Mount Housing Authority. The agency wants to rely less on tax money while helping out people who need assistance.

It is a restaurant your wallet will appreciate, not just because of the prices, but because of its purpose.

"The ultimate goal, of course, is to make money. If we make money, we plan to recycle that money within the community. We plan to use the money for our affordable housing program," said Larry Russell, Housing Authority director.

The profits from Jazzy's will help make the Rocky Mount Housing Authority more self-sufficient. Similar agencies in most other counties rely on tax money and nothing else.

The restaurant also means jobs for some public housing residents like assistant manager Annie Jones. In fact, most of Jazzy's 15 to 20 part-time employees live in public housing.

"I've always been a single parent, so it's self-sufficient in helping me to better my life and my child's life and to give them a better education," said Jones.

Organizers know the restaurant is a risk because this is a competitive industry, but they have two advantages.

The investment was small by most standards at $60,000, and they will sell food that is not widely available.

"We're going to have fried chicken, baked chicken, ham hocks and collards. We're going to have beef ribs and pork ribs," said Manager David Leonard. "We're not going to compete withHardee'sorMcDonald's, and we're actually not trying to compete with any restaurant. We feel like we have a special niche."

Jazzy's is on Raleigh Road in southern Rocky Mount. The restaurant is expected to open later this week, with a grand opening scheduled for July 17.

If business is good, organizers may look into franchises in other counties.

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