After over 45 years in the restaurant business, in one form or another, I thought it was time to retire. And I did in 2013. Knocked around for a couple years doing this and that including a short term consulting job in late 2015 for The Pines Country Club. During this time I hired a part time weekend cook named Jimmy Strickland. Once he saw the challenges before us he shared that he actually was a Chef and offered to help in any way he could. I took him up on his offer and turned him loose. His cuisine amazed me as well as the members and local diners.
My job ended early 2016 and I returned to retirement status but looking for something to do part time. During my fruitless search I became aware of the building we currently occupy and of course thought of Jimmy. Besides incredible skills he possesses youth, something I would need if I am crazy enough to do this again at my age. Also catching my eye while at The Pines was Megan Derr (now Stanley). Energetic, service driven and a very organized front of the house person and again possessing youth. Sous Chef Lindsey Winship followed Jimmy and the rest, as they say, is history.
Hoppin’ John, an old time low country southern dish of rice and black eyed peas jumped off the page of a cookbook as the perfect name for the restaurant and what we wanted to bring to the local restaurant scene. The tag “New South Cuisine” we thought would elude to this being something different and worth a try.
I wanted to create a comfortable atmosphere with a sense old school charm and appropriate for this late 19th century building. Beverage service is steeped in traditional beverages and not trending cocktails. Featuring southern craft beers and a large selection of fine bourbons (a southern staple). The wines are handpicked and represent quality and value. A full line of national brand beer and spirits is also available.
Jimmy’s classical training and love of southern cuisine is the foundation of Hoppin’ Johnz’ concept. In addition, his insistence that we are a farm to table eatery sourcing local suppliers such as Brother’s Farm Weeksville, Layden’s in Belvidere and local seafood speaks volumes with regard to Hoppin’ Johnz’ quality standards.
We are receiving rave reviews at the restaurant and on social media. So look over the menus, wine list and drink list and join us and join our dining fans in spreading the word of something new and wonderful in Elizabeth City.