Jo’s Cafe, located Tupelo, embodies the theme song from the iconic television show, Cheers. You remember the tune “Where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.”
Named after “Aunt Jo” (Jo Moore) of Tupelo. The restaurant offers catering, meal prep, and food truck options, in addition to traditional dining. There is something for everyone at Jo’s. Inside the historic yellow home in the heart of Tupelo, the restaurant and its owners has found its way in the hearts, homes, and taste buds of locals and visitors alike.
Four years ago, Jennifer Brignac and her husband, Johnny Cook, started Jo’s Cafe, a food truck designed to travel to disaster sites and feed first responders and victims.
In 2020, they opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant at Crosstown, but they’ve never forgotten their original mission.
Jo’s Cafe is also a faith-based organization principally focused on providing disaster relief to those whose lives have been affected across the United States. Their team is prepared to respond by providing compassion and offering hope and friendship in the form of hot meals. They leverage their expertise in cooking to serve meals for victims, volunteers and first responders in national emergencies and disasters and are committed to using our resources to meet the needs of others.
Recently, Johnny, Jen, and their crew spent a day around Christmas time in Kentucky helping the victims and clean up crews of the violent tornadoes that ravaged much of the state.
After watching TV news coverage of the deadly tornadoes, they knew what they had to do.
“We saw aerial footage of the damage, and I told Johnny it was weighing heavy on my heart,” Brignac said. “And he agreed.”
HOSPITALITY AT ITS FINEST
King City locals rallied around Jo’s Cafe and donated items such as gift cards, candy, and frozen turkeys, to not only help their beloved cafe and their owners, but also because here in Mississippi we understand all too well the devastation that a tornado can cause, and we also understand the importance of helping our neighbors.
On Christmas Eve, the couple, along with fellow employee Kristin Buse, piled into a pickup and hauled Jo’s Cafe’s mobile food trailer 250 miles to Murray, Kentucky, where they spent the night with some missionaries from another local disaster response group, Eight Days of Hope.
“This is a total God thing,” Brignac said. “We’re just using the resources He gave us.”
As New Orleans natives and Hurricane Katrina survivors, it is important to Johnny and Jennifer to help and serve others, with the motto “You cannot do everything, but you can refuse to do nothing.”
“We were living on the Gulf Coast when Katrina came through, so it’s kind of our background,” Brignac said “We’ve been on both sides of a disaster, first as victims and how as helpers.”
MAKING LEMONS OUT OF LEMONADE
A dozen years or so ago, Jennifer discovered she was gluten intolerant. She took this challenge as an opportunity to learn how to cook gluten-free food. Dietary restrictions, or not, Jo’s is a place where everyone can eat real, whole foods, and eat them together!
Jennifer and Johnny put their hearts and souls into Jo’s, and it shows not only through the amount of returning customers they have, but through the relationships they have built both inside and outside of the Tupelo community.
Jo’s Cafe is not a business that is trying to make a living. Jo’s Cafe is an organization that is wanting to make a difference. Not only do they provide healthy, delicious food for each customer, they also utilize their talents and cooking skills to help others in their time of need.
CUSTOMERS ARE FAMILY
The Cafe has allowed Jen, Johnny, and their talented staff to make so many priceless connections. “Our patrons are no longer customers after their first visit, they are our friends. The support and encouragement we receive from them is priceless!”
If you’re in the Tupelo area, just drive down Gloster Street and look for the billboard sign that says “Jo’s Cafe, Located Over Yonder.” Once you find this local gem, you’ll never forget it! It is indeed a place “Where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came.” A place where nutrition and hospitality are of the utmost importance, and the southern tradition of gathering together around good food is maintained.
Photos courtesy of Jo’s Cafe