INDIANAPOLIS — At His Place Eatery, everyone feels like family.
“The feeling that you give someone when they come to His Place Eatery, you can’t get that anywhere else except for His Place Eatery,” Chef James Jones said.
From the moment you enter the restaurant at 6916 E. 30th St., the hustle never stops.
“It’s completely nuts, Sundays are typically our busiest day and it’s not uncommon that we’ll have a line out the door, waiting for us when we open up,” Jones said.
At his restaurant, you’ll realize that the food speaks to the soul. From the mac-and-cheese to the meatloaf, every delectable meal is made with family recipes, enhanced with his own twist.
“The base of the chicken recipe is how my mom cooked chicken, fried chicken, when I grew up,” Jones said.
For nearly 13 years, Jones and his wife have owned the restaurant since he got out of working as a radio account executive and went to culinary school at Ivy Tech.
The curriculum helped him cultivate his culinary cuisine with a focus on soul food. It’s a menu rooted in tradition that’s supported him through the pandemic.
“I could not have predicted, especially the last couple of years,” Jones said
When all restaurants had to stop serving customers in person, Jones pivoted to keep his staff employed.
“I would say we’re truly blessed because during the pandemic we never closed up, we closed our dine in for a bit, but we never closed up, we just carried out,” front end manager Latammian Dix said
Whether it’s pandemic to-go orders or in-person service, Jones said thriving as a Black entrepreneur isn’t easy.
“There’s always challenges whenever you’re a minority owned business.” he said., “I think a lot of times people think that our prices need to be a little bit less and that probably, that’s probably the biggest challenge.”
He’s as honest as the ingredients in his food, but he combats adversity in business, with consistency.
“We want to make sure that you get the same type of experience that you would get at any other type of establishment in town, regardless of ownership,” Jones said.
As the owner, his work is sought after in the community and nationwide.
“Sometimes you get kind of speechless, when you come in and you know people are coming from all over and now people are coming from all over the country. They seek us out,” Jones said.
He has a meticulous focus on customers, the community and cooking that’s ministering to people through food.
“What do you think has made it possible for you?” When asked what made it all possible, with a laugh Jones said, “by the grace of God.”
Jones said he doesn’t see his work as a success, but he sees his work as numbers, improvement and where they need to go.