Music on the menu at culinary grads' restaurant
At F. Jones Corner on Jackson's historic North Farish Street, food and music share the menu because the owners, both 2002 Hinds culinary arts alumni, are serious about both.
Daniel Dillon and Adam Hayes met as students in the Jackson Campus-Academic/Technical Center program. After graduation, Hayes went to Germany for the European food experience and Dillon stayed in Jackson where he was immersed in the local restaurant scene at Primo's and Hal & Mal's. Those varied experiences meshed when Hayes returned to Mississippi and the two decided to become business partners.
Their dream was to bring back the ambiance of Farish Street in its heyday and to attract clientele who appreciate the idea of being part of revitalizing downtown Jackson's night life. In the bargain, they get good fellowship, really good food and really good music.
The food offered at F. Jones Corner has been written up in local print media as something well thought-out and out of the ordinary.
"The culinary arts program at Hinds definitely broadened my view. It gave me an idea of what foods are out there," Dillon said. "I learned a lot about regional and international cuisines and also a lot about restaurant concept development."
At the same time that Dillon and Hayes were learning "enhanced" basics from then-culinary arts instructor, Kathleen Bruno, they were getting a post-graduate education from her husband, Luis Bruno, at Bruno's in downtown Jackson.
"I probably learned as much, if not more, from the Brunos than if I had gone to a big culinary institute or the Cordon Bleu," Hayes said.
Hayes also learned the catering side of the food industry by working at Chimneyville Smoke House, widely known for its catering under then-owner Jimmy Morton, another Hinds alumnus.
Dillon, part of the Sherman Lee Dillon family of local blues and folk music fame, also brings to the table a finely-tuned appreciation for live performance and Mississippi-bred music along with, of course, his musical connections.
His father or his brother, Andrew, often entertain at lunch time (Monday-Friday) when the focus is on the food and the music is more of a light backdrop. Evenings (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) however, they turn the heat up on the music as they bring in the bands.
These entertainers include but are not limited to Sherman Lee Dillon and the Mississippi Sound, Jesse Robinson and the 500 lb. Blues Band, the Houserockers, Jackie "Miss Sweetheart" Bell, Stevie J and the Blues Eruption, King Edward, Scott Albert Johnson and Andrew Dillon with Sons of the Subway. An occasional "Rockin' Blues" or hip-hop group will also pop up from time to time.
In business only since June 2009, F. Jones Corner is rich in its history and rich in its own present-day atmosphere- a place created by two Hinds alumni where people can enjoy themselves not only during the day, but also after dark in the heart of downtown Jackson. For more, go to fjonescorner.com.
Photo caption: Daniel Dillon, left, and Adam Hayes in front of F. Jones Corner sign designed (and yet to be painted) by Tre' Thornhill, who took this photograph.
From the Spring, 2010, issue of the Hinds Community College alumni magazine, Hindsight (page 11).
Hindsight is the official publication of the Hinds Community College Development Foundation/Alumni Association. It is published quarterly by the Community Relations Office of Hinds Community College.