Grand Openings in Greater Jackson

Refill Café occupies the space that Koinonia Coffee House once held. Photo courtesy Jeff Good

Refill Café occupies the space that Koinonia Coffee House once held. Photo courtesy Jeff Good

The people of Jackson are an entrepreneurial sort, as evidenced by the multiple businesses that have held grand openings throughout this last quarter. Here is a list of some of the newer spots you may want to check out if you have not yet had the chance, as well as some local places to look forward to visiting in the new year.

Refill Cafe

Refill Cafe, a nonprofit workforce development cafe located inside the space that once housed Koinonia Coffee House in west Jackson, opened on Tuesday, Aug. 27. The cafe is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Jeff Good, president of Mangia Bene Restaurant Group, teamed up with other restaurant owners and entrepreneurs in 2016 to create a workforce training cafe to help young people learn skills for the workplace. The Refill set up a new business in the space after Koinonia's closure, based on models already in place in businesses such as Cafe Reconcile and Liberty's Kitchen in New Orleans.

Refill obtained a $235,000 loan from Hope Credit Union to purchase the building and a planning grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to develop the cafe. Good is now chairman of the Refill board of directors, and Carol Burger, the now-retired chief executive officer of United Way of the Capital Area, serves as vice chairwoman.

The nonprofit works with young adults age 18 to 24 who are not currently working or in school. Refill offers a 10-week training program, of which participants spend five weeks in classrooms on the building's second floor developing workplace skills such as answering a phone, sending emails, how to present oneself, resume building, filling job applications, personal health and well-being, professional dress and financial management, anger management and interview skills, Good says.

Participants then spend the remaining five weeks in the cafe on the ground floor shadowing full-time employees for on-the-job training, including working in the kitchen, running the register, serving and busing tables and other tasks.

The menu at Refill Cafe will include dishes such as kale Caesar salads, carved turkey sandwiches topped with cranberry dressing, daily "power bowls" of brown rice and quinoa topped with vegetables and a choice of protein, a variety of soups and sandwiches, a rotating selection of daily blue plate specials and more.

For more information and details, visit refillcafejackson.com or find it on Facebook.

Sophomore Spanish Club

Sophomore Spanish Club, a '90s-themed Latin restaurant inside The District at Eastover, held its grand opening on Monday, Aug. 26. The restaurant occupies the former Cantina Laredo, which closed in February.

MH Ventures of Jackson, which also operates Fine & Dandy in The District, manages Sophomore Spanish Club, and Jesse Houston, executive chef at Fine & Dandy, serves as culinary director.

The interior of Sophomore Spanish Club is filled with '90s-related memorabilia, and the decor and menu item titles are both largely inspired by the show "Saved by the Bell."

The restaurant features bright pink lighting and tall Mexican candles that have the faces of prominent actors and television characters from the '90s on them, such as Jennifer Aniston and Steve Urkel.

The menu includes items such as frito pie with chile con carne, fresh seafood and fajitas made on a charcoal grill, along with traditional items such as tamales and enchiladas. Drinks include frozen margaritas that customers can add flavors to, such as prickly pear, and other specialty cocktails, such as the "Cactus Cat," which is made up of honeysuckle, vodka, prickly pear, lemon, cucumber and orange.

Sophomore Spanish Club is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The restaurant's bar and Cactus Cat Lounge are also open from 10 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 601-203-3333 or find the Sophomore Spanish Club on Facebook.

UMMC Opens LGBTQ Clinic at Jackson Medical Mall


TEAM Clinic nurse practitioner Jim Miller, left, takes the blood pressure of patient Wes McComas. Photo courtesy UMMC

University of Mississippi Medical Center recently established the state's first LGBTQ health clinic at the Jackson Medical Mall. The Trustworthy, Evidence-based, Affirming and Multidisciplinary Care Clinic sees patients by appointment the first Friday afternoon of every month.

The TEAM Clinic offers wellness visits, endocrine and hormonal treatment, STD screenings and treatment, behavioral health and psychiatric services, medication management and more. The center's staff includes specialists in family and internal medicine, pediatrics, psychology and psychiatry.

UMMC's Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior also staffs an LGBTQ specialty clinic that offers mental health services. That clinic, which opened in 2015 at the Jackson Medical Mall, provides psychiatric care and psychotherapy.

The TEAM Clinic offers day-to-day medical treatment and help with managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, with referrals to specialists when needed, a release from UMMC says. The clinic normally sees patients by referral, but anyone can make an appointment. The Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior refers patients to the LGBTQ specialty clinic, which will sometimes refer its patients to the TEAM Clinic.

To schedule an appointment at the TEAM Clinic, call 601-984-2644. Email [email protected] for info. The number and email are for non-emergency use.

Rocket Fizz Opens at The Outlets

Shreveport, La., native Richard Morris brought Rocket Fizz, a California-based specialty soda and candy franchise, to Mississippi with the opening of a new store at the Outlets of Mississippi on Wednesday, Nov. 6.

Rocket Fizz co-founders Robert Powells and Ryan Morgan opened their first store in Camarillo, Calif., in 2009. The store carries hundreds of varieties of specialty soda flavors from around the world, as well as old-fashioned candies, gag gifts and pop culture items.

Morris first discovered Rocket Fizz in 2015, when Powells appeared on an episode of the television show "Undercover Boss." Morris says he loved the concept of the store so much that he decided to become a franchisee and start working to open his own store. He opened his first store at the Louisiana Boardwalk Outlets in Bossier City in March 2016 and a second store in Arlington, Texas, in 2017.

Before opening his first Rocket Fizz store, Morris had worked at Louisiana casinos for more than 17 years. He started out working as a dealer at the Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City, La., and became the casino manager there in 2011.

Morris later became a casino manager of the Margaritaville Resort Casino in Bossier in 2013.

The Rocket Fizz at the Outlets carries more than 420 different types of soda, including flavors from Rocket Fizz' own brand. The store also carries its own brand of taffy in more than 85 flavors.

For more information, call 769-524-4870, visit rocketfizz.com or find the Outlets Rocket Fizz store on Facebook.

BeanFruit Coffee and Thunderhead Coffee Open Merged Store in Flowood

Paul Bonds, owner of BeanFruit Coffee in Jackson, has partnered with Thunderhead Coffee owner Greg Jacob to merge their coffee shops into one location in Flowood, which opened on Friday, Nov. 15.

The new location is an 8,000-square-foot warehouse space on Flowood Drive that includes a factory roasting production area, a lab and coffee training facilities and a walk-in coffee shop that will sell retail items and coffee equipment.

Jacob also owns Coffee & Tea Works, a coffee equipment consulting, sales and service company, and Arte Gourmet, a wholesale distribution center for syrups, sauces and teas to coffee shops.

For more information about each business, you can visit thun
derhead.com and beanfruit.com.

Yuzu Ramen and Ariella's Pasta Bar at Cultivation Food Hall


Yuzu Ramen features a build-your-own ramen bowl special. Photo courtesy Kristin Brenemen

Jackson native Connor Mize, who previously worked as executive chef at Saltine Oyster Bar and sous chef at Estelle Wine Bar & Bistro, opened his own food stall, Yuzu Ramen, at Cultivation Food Hall in The District at Eastover on Monday, Nov. 25.

Mize's stall is located on the west side of the food hall next to Fete au Fete.

The menu at Yuzu Ramen includes miso, pork, chicken, beef and vegan ramen bowls; pork or veggie dumplings; steamed pork, beef, chicken or veggie buns; a build-your-own ramen bowl special and more.

Yuzu Ramen is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Alivia Ashburn-Townsend, owner of Ariella's NY Delicatessen, has also reopened her restaurant, which temporarily closed earlier this year, as an Italian restaurant called Ariella's Pasta Bar, which also opened on Monday, Nov. 25.

The menu at the newly reopened Ariella's now includes meatballs, marinated mushrooms, braised pork pasta, chicken alfredo, pasta salad and more.

For more information, call 601-487-5197 or visit cultivationfoodhall.com.


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