A husband-and-wife team of veteran restaurant workers have opened their own restaurant in Bermuda Run, offering Southern comfort food for breakfast, lunch and dinner six days a week.
Jessica Jimenez, 30, and Ulises Jimenez, 35, opened Southern Spice Cuisine on Aug. 31 at 5411 U.S. 158 next to Gym 365 in the Shoppes at Bermuda Quay shopping center.
“I’ve been working in restaurants since I was a teenager, and we met in a restaurant,” Jessica Jimenez said. “We worked for other people for so long. We just really love working in the restaurant business, and that’s where we want to be for the future.”
The two met at Dynasty Chinese Restaurant in Mocksville. Most recently, the couple had been working at CJ’s Bar-B-Cue in Mocksville.
Ulises Jimenez, the chef, is a native of Mexico, and he has worked in all kinds of restaurants here in the States. But the couple decided to go with an all-American menu for Southern Spice.
“This is Southern comfort food — meatloaf, country-fried steak. Ulises makes all these daily specials,” Jessica said.
Breakfast runs the gamut — eggs any way, pancakes, waffles and French toast, served with choices of bacon, sausage, livermush, ham and more. Full plates with two eggs, meat, toast or biscuit, and choice of grits, gravy, hash browns or rice and gravy run from $6.45 to $7.95. The biscuits aren’t made from scratch but the gravy is.
Ulisses said he learned to cook a lot of Southern foods at CJ’s, and fans of CJ’s will notice some familiar dishes. Even most of Southern Spice’s daily plate specials are the same dish featured on the same day.
Lunch and dinner share the same menu. There’s a selection of burgers, hot dogs, as well as such sandwiches as BLT, grilled pimento cheese and steak patty melt. Regular burgers start at $4.99, but there are also large specialty burgers, such as the cowboy burger ($9.10 with a side), with an 8-ounce beef patty, American cheese, lettuce, bacon, mayo, onion rings and barbecue sauce.
There also are subs and club sandwiches, and such plates as hamburger steak, pork chop, quarter or half BBQ chicken, and country-fried steak. Most are under $10. The most expensive is a rib-eye for $14.99.
Then there are the daily specials: beef tips and rice on Monday, chicken and dumplings on Tuesday, meatloaf on Wednesday, pot roast on Thursday, fried seafood on Friday and lasagna and spaghetti on Saturday. Specials are $8.29 except for the seafood plates on Friday, which top out at $12.25.
Plates come with choice of rolls, hushpuppies or cornbread — the latter homemade — and two sides. Sides include yams, green beans, fried okra, fried squash, mashed potatoes and gravy, and mac ’n’ cheese.
Ulises said that the barbecue chicken is one of his personal favorites. And he recommends anything at breakfast. “I just really like cooking breakfast,” he said.
“Ulises also makes these peaches that are really good. He calls them spiced peaches. They have that pie spice flavor,” Jessica Jimenez said.
Southern Spice is in the location that used to house Asian View Chinese Restaurant, which closed in February after a long run.
The couple rented the space in May and renovated it, doing much of the work themselves. Family members help out in the kitchen and they’ve managed to hire enough servers despite a labor shortage. “We’re still hiring, but I think we have a pretty good team,” Jessica said.
She said the business has been growing steadily since opening day. “Every day it’s picking up more and more,” she said.
James Tucker, the owner of the former Tucker’s Place Café in Advance, came for a double cheeseburger the other day. “This is phenomenal,” he said. “The food is really good. I’ll be back for sure.”
Linda Holloway and friend, who live just down the street, also stopped by for a late lunch.
Holloway said she was happy to see an independent, family-run restaurant open in the area, which is home to so many fast-food chains. “I’m glad it’s here, and I like the menu. There’s something for everybody.”