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Robert St. John

Restaurateur, author, enthusiastic traveler, & world-class eater.

The Age of the Servant Restaurateur

September 9, 2013


Over the course of a 30-year career in the restaurant business I have met a lot of caring, generous, and talented people.

One of the great opportunities the restaurant business affords is the privilege of meeting, greeting, and fostering relationships with a diverse group of customers in the dining room or bar of one’s business.

Another opportunity is getting to know fellow independent restaurateurs throughout the country. I have met and made some of the greatest friendships of my life within this industry.

Every once in a while one meets an individual who defies all of the typical restaurant norms and rises above the pack distinguishing him or herself in a unique, rare, and extraordinary way. Occasionally one person stands alone among his or her peers and is the shining beacon that puts a good face on this brutally tough industry. It is rare to find a person who can dedicate enough time to operate a successful independent restaurant operation and also be successfully involved throughout his or her community.

Enter Jeff Good.

I met Good in 1994 at a Mississippi Restaurant Association event and knew instantly that he was cut from a different cloth. He was more energetic, passionate and dedicated than anyone I had ever met. That year he and his business partner/chef, Dan Blumenthal opened restaurant Bravo!. The pair opened Broad Street Baking Company in 1998, and Sal & Mookie’s in 2007. All businesses are in Jackson and all are thriving today.

To own and operate an independent restaurant in this ever-changing business climate and to do it successfully for almost two decades is really all I need to say about Good’s dedication and passion to his chosen profession. He is a talented restaurateur and marketer and a great representative for our industry.

You might find another restaurateur or two in this state who have owned and operated successful businesses for over two decades. You will probably find several who get more recognition in the press or who generate more sales volume. But I defy you to find anyone who does all that is needed to foster and grow three successful independent restaurants, while at the same being completely and totally plugged in to his or her community.

Jeff Good is the gold standard by which all other independent restaurateurs should be judged when it comes to community involvement. Actually, “involvement” is too broad of term. Jeff Good displays, preaches, and lives “community commitment.”

Good is not only committed to the betterment and growth of his staff, but of his neighborhood and the surrounding neighborhoods in the city of Jackson.

Jeff is a servant restaurateur. No, Good is the king of the servant restaurateurs. Most of us stay pretty involved. But anyone would be humbled when reading a list of Good’s deeds over the past 20 years.

In addition to the 70-hour workweek commitment of owning and operating restaurants, Good has served on so many Jackson boards, commissions, and committees there is no way they could be listed here. Seriously, the “too many to be listed here” cliché is usually a vacant platitude. Not in Good’s case. I am humbled by his dedication and commitment to Jackson and that city’s endeavors.

His most recent undertaking though, is the icing on the cake. After inviting Good and Blumenthal to a community advisory board meeting for Extra Table— the statewide non-profit that helps supply mission pantries and soup kitchens throughout Mississippi with healthy food— to ask those in the metro Jackson area how we could start delivering more food to the city’s under-resourced and overworked agencies, Good stepped up to the plate big time.

It should have been no surprise to me, but I was humbled by Good’s commitment to the cause of hunger. Within a matter of minutes after the meeting had adjourned, Good had devised a system to help Extra Table raise funds to supply local agencies Stewpot and Gateway Recue Mission with much-needed food.

Today, and for the foreseeable future, anytime anyone eats at one of Good and Blumenthal’s restaurants— Bravo!, Broad Street Baking Company, or Sal & Mookie’s you will see an extra line on the bottom of the guest check. That line is for a donation to Extra Table. At the end of each month, Good and Blumenthal will use 100% of those donated funds to purchase Extra Table food bundles that will be delivered to Stewpot and Gateway Rescue Mission.

Hunger is real in our state. Over 630,000 of our citizens suffer from hunger. Over 200,000 children eat a school breakfast, a school lunch, and then don’t eat again until the next day at school. That is unacceptable.

Though with passionate citizens and servant restaurateurs such as Jeff Good, we will solve the hunger plight in Mississippi sooner rather than later.

Mississippi needs more Jeff Goods.

To learn about Extra Table and how you can help fight hunger and obesity in Mississippi:

To learn more about Jeff Good:

To learn more about Jeff’s restaurants:



Parmigiano Reggiano Crusted Asparagus


1 Package Phyllo Dough Sheets, thawed

1 Bunch asparagus, medium sized, ends removed (18-20 spears)

1 /2 pound melted butter

1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated

1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

2 egg whites, well beaten



Preheat oven to 375 F.


Bring 1 quart of lightly salted water to a boil.

Cook the asparagus for one minute, drain immediately.


Place one sheet of Phyllo dough on a flat surface, brush with melted butter, and sprinkle it with 1 teaspoon of cheese. Top with another layer of Phyllo dough, and repeat the process, also sprinkle with a pinch of black pepper. Cut the large sheet in half, so that the two sides are the length of the asparagus. Place an asparagus spear at one end of the dough sheet, and tightly roll the dough around the asparagus.


Place the rolls on a lined baking sheet, leaving room between them. Repeat this process until all asparagus has been wrapped. You may have leftover Phyllo, if so, wrap it well and refreeze.


Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the outsides of the rolls with the egg wash. Sprinkle any remaining cheese on the roll.


Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the rolls are golden brown.


Yield: 18-20 spears


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