One of the most satisfying parts of this mission I’ve been on to promote, amplify and spotlight Black chefs has been being able to sample unique cuisine all across America. During a recent visit to St. Louis, I had to honor of visiting a Black-owned establishment in the middle of Ferguson, MO: Cathy’s Kitchen Restaurant & Diner.
Owned by Chef Cathy Jenkins, Cathy’s Kitchen is located at 250 S Florissant Road and has been serving its community since it opened in 2013. It’s an American restaurant that was inspired by a two month cross-country road trip taken by Jenkins, with the cuisine traditions of California, New Mexico, Texas, St. Louis, Chicago, Memphis, New Orleans and Florida all sharing space on the menu. One wall at the restaurant even charts the trip in detail.
In 2014, about a year after its opening, Cathy’s Kitchen became known for more than just their cuisine. Jenkins and her husband Jerome, who is also co-owner and general manager, opened up their restaurant to protesters who were flooding the streets in front of the eatery speaking out against the murder of Michael Brown, offering water and free food to those in need. That type of support stood out even more than usual and could be seen as an act of defiance since Cathy’s is located directly next door to the Ferguson Police Department.
Five years later, the restaurant is still thriving, with a who’s-who of Ferguson and St. Louis regularly making their way into Cathy’s for fine food and photos with the owners. What made my visit there special, in spite of not being able to snag a photo, was that I stopped by on a Friday, when they have what I promise is the best special going anywhere: a chicken, shrimp and fish trio consisting of three crispy fried whole chicken wings, 1/2 dozen of jumbo fried shrimp, all hand-battered in po boy seasoning, 1/2 lb fried catfish nuggets & a side of coleslaw.
Next time I hope to be able to chat with Jenkins about what gives Cathy’s its unique flavor. But in the meantime, check the video below for a taste of what Cathy’s has to offer, and why you should stop by and support this fine establishment.
Cathy’s Kitchen Restaurant & Diner