Soul Sessions Podcast: Dr. Jerrick Rose
On today's episode is pediatric dentist and restaurateur, Dr. Jerrick Rose. When COVID-19 closed his dental practice temporarily in 2020, Dr. Rose took out his notes from years of travel and inspiration – and opened La Cour Kitchen and Bar in Jackson’s Highland Village.
An always entrepreneurial spirit, Dr. Jerrick Rose took a potential "bucket list" idea and and turned it into reality with La Cour Kitchen and Bar. Besides, too much idle time, he says, is wasted opportunity.
Dr. Rose talks with Soul Sessions host Paul Wolf in today's episode.
Note: Soul Sessions is produced as a podcast first and designed to be listened to. If you are able, we strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which includes the emotion and inflection meant to be conveyed by human voice. Our transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting.
PAUL: This is Soul Sessions, conversations on culture from Jackson, Mississippi.
I’m your host, Paul Wolf, bringing you a look at the people, places and events that make us the City With Soul. On today’s show, pediatric dentist and restaurateur, Dr. Jerrick Rose. When COVID-19 closed his dental practice temporarily, Dr.. Rose took out his notes from years of travel and inspiration – and opened La Cour Kitchen and Bar in Jackson’s Highland village.
Dr. Jerrick Rose. Thank you so much for being here today.
JERRICK: I appreciate you having me today.
PAUL: …proud to have you as guest on Soul Sessions. We talk to folks here who are doing unique and interesting things in Jackson and creating our culture here. And I want to talk more about your big new development, your restaurant at Highland Village… little tease there. But I want to know a little more about you. Can you give me a glimpse of who you are and about the work that you do?
JERRICK: I am from Mississippi, I am from Brandon, Mississippi. I graduated from Brandon High School a little, a little time ago…from Brandon High School. I matriculated to the University of Southern Mississippi. There, I obtained a Bachelor's degree in biology and a minor in chemistry. I went on to dental school at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. I completed my training there in 2012. While there I served as class president. I went on to finish my residency at Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital where I served as chief resident there. So I am now a board certified pediatric dentist. I practice in Pearl, Mississippi. We're also expanding out into some rural areas right now where I'm expanding into Crystal Springs. Besides just the business side, I am a father of a daughter who's about seven years old, Ryleigh Page. I'm also the father of my foster son, Kingston, who's four. He'll be five next week and that that's pretty much. I guess the basis of me, I'm a family man. I love family, love friends. That's pretty much who I am at the core.
PAUL: Okay, you're a busy man and nowhere in there did I hear restaurateur Kind of an unlikely departure from dental school. Just briefly, how did you become a restaurateur with LaCour Kitchen and Bar at Highland Village?
JERRICK: I've always been kind of a business minded guy. I mean, I used to sell candy out of my book bag on the school bus. I used to get a trouble. I was raised by my grandparents my entire life, and so my grandparents opened me up a bank account when I was like twelve. It’s crazy because I still have that exact same bank account. Now it looks a little different than it did when I was 12! Yeah, and so uh, we would any moneys I would make up. We would save it, and keep up with it, and I mean, by the time graduation came from high school, I had enough money to buy my first car, man. And so I've always kind of been like an entrepreneur at heart.
Whenever my wife and I would travel during that time, a while back, we would eat at different places. I had this thing that, no matter where I went I town, I didn't want to eat anything that I could have at home. So I guess I would kind of consider myself a foodie. Throughout my travels, man, I found myself taking pictures and notes and jotting things down and saying, ‘if I was to ever open up a restaurant, this is what I would do.’ I really never planned on opening up a restaurant. It was kind of like, it was on my bucket list, but I didn't know it was really on my bucket list. Then, Corona, then COVID came, and my dental office was closed down for about ten weeks and I’m just not a man who does good with idle time. So I pulled out all pictures of menus I’ve been saving for years and I started developing a La Cour Kitchen and Bar. I didn’t know that I was developing La Cour Kitchen and Bar at the time, but I knew I was going to actually start putting something together. And a friend of mine, Doug Price, who's my commercial realtor - he's done some stuff for me with my dental offices – I was talking to him about it and he was intriqued and he said, ‘Hey, let's go look at some spaces,’ and two years later, here we are two years later.
PAUL: Okay, I got a back up for clarification: you had no intention of being a restaurateur until COVID hit?
JERRICK: No intention.
PAUL: That’s incredible! I know from your story that your travels around the country and around the world… you've told me that what you want to do is bring back a big city experience to Jackson, Mississippi.
JERRICK: So here, I travel a bit. I like to consider myself like a city guy, you know, that's into country. I kind of like a mix of both. You know, I love, you know, accessibility. I love soulful food. I love family-oriented things, and we have that here in the south. So I love that, but there are also big city experiences that I don't feel that we have enough of here. And I see those things coming, and I'm so excited about it, and I'm excited to play a role in bringing some of those things here. And so, um, when I traveled, there's things that I like to do. And in my restaurant venture, I wanted to make sure that I brought that big city field here in the restaurant industry. So I have other friends who are business owners in the city and I'm always passing out ideas. ‘Okay, you should do this’ or ‘Hey, you should do that.’ And so finally I got my opportunity to take a lot of my ideas and my planning, and put it to work.
PAUL: Okay, take me through the doors of LaCour Kitchen and Bar at Highland Village. You’re right there in the courtyard. We walk through those stores, what do we find?
JERRICK: As you said, we’re right there in the center courtyard, which is an amazing location. I'm so excited about it. When I originally went to Highland Village, I was looking at another space that an older restaurant used to have, and they said, ‘Hey, go look at this space.’ And when I saw that space I was like, ‘Okay, I don't want that other space, I want this space.’ It is crazy because it was my second option. That’s because my first option wasn't available and I'm so glad it wasn’t.
When you enter into La Cour Kitchen and Bar, from the outside, we have accordion style glass doors that are lined with black metal. Those doors slide open for the inside of La Cour to meet the courtyard. So La Cour in French, means the courts or, the courtyard. So the name plays off of our French inspired restaurant, but it simply means the courtyard kitchen and bar. Those doors slide open where, when you first walk into our right, we have a baby grand piano. So we do have live music on certain nights of the week, Thursday through Sunday. To your left you, we have our piano bar, a nice lounge area where we will serve tapas foods, appetizers and drinks. And we have a state-of-the-art bar that was curated by Jonathan Shull who's the owner of The Apothecary, which is an award winning bar. So all of our drinks are curated by Jonathan Shull, and his bar team. Our bar is trained by them and designed by them.
And so we have a very, very nice space. We also have a private room that holds about sixteen people for dinner and about 22 to 24 people for appetizers and drinks. What I love about that private space is most private spaces that I go into, we have this long table that's more for like, meetings or family dinner or board meeting. Our curated space, it's almost like you have your private personal restaurant. We have some nice couch seating, cushioned seating, table top seating. It's a variety of different seating. It gives you a nice a vibe, a good energy in their own. It almost feels as if your guests have their own private little restaurant.
PAUL: And I've been, I’ve had the food and drink. It's amazing. Just really killing it in the kitchen. Your bartenders are amazing. Late nights, brunch lunch, dinner…
JERRICK: You know, we do a little bit of everything. So Andrew Lee is, he's a chef and he's a great chef. Andrew is my right-hand man. He was there for me with me from the very beginning. Andrew helped me to refine my menu and to curate my menu, to make sure that my idea, what I wanted was also what the people would want. Not just, you know, what we could put on a plate the Dr. Rose want to eat. And so Andrew is, uh, the brain right beside my brain. He's actually our general manager and he oversees the entire restaurant. He's the guy that's there at all hours. Bryant Cassette is our executive chef, and he's done a great job. Andrew’s, right there, kind of leading guiding as far as what my vision is for the restaurant as well as for the menu. and as you say we do, we do a little bit of everything, man. La Cour does it all.
We also have a bottleless brunch on Sundays. That idea came from my travels. I traveled to DC a good bit, and they always have a good bottomless brunch. So with this bottomless brunch, you have several brunch items. You have several drink items, and for one price, as you sit at your table, the server will continue to bring you back your choice off that menu, And so this gives you an opportunity to try several different brunch items and several different brunch drinks, and we… that service is provided only on Sundays. And so we do have a regular bunch menu on that Sunday as well, but the bottomless brunch is also available.
On March 1, we’re celebrating Fat Tuesday, so we’re going to do a Fat Tuesday celebration with a second line. We have a lot of different events we plan on doing like a guest chef night, probably once a quarter, where we’ll bring in guest chefs and offer a special menu. So we have plans to make this space be what it needs to be for the Highland Village/Northeast Jackson community, really for the entire state of Mississippi.
PAUL: Dr. Rose, we’ll put links to La Cour Kitchen and Bar in our show notes, so we can check out the menu, the hours and the exact location. Now before I let you go, I have to ask you about your hometown of Jackson, Mississippi: what makes it such a special place?
JERRICK: I tell all my friends… it's funny I asked our friends last night where they think my favorite thing is in business and in people, and one of my friends got it right in the beginning. He said, ‘The potential.’ Potential excites me so much. What I hate more than anything is always wasted potential. And so anything with potential just really gets me, gets me going, man. And so our city has all the potential here to be, you know better than any other city. It's our, it's the capital of our state. It's the metropolitan area. It's the place in Mississippi that gives me that city feeling, and, as it should. And so, I love Jackson, because there's a lot of support here. There's a lot of businesses here. There's a lot of growth here, but more than anything, I'm so excited about the potential there is here and it gives me the feeling that I want, that feeling of still being in the south, that feeling of still having an accessibility. Not as much traffic and great food, great people who are friendly and hospitable. I love Jackson.
PAUL: Pediatric dentist, and unlikely restauranteur of La Cour Kitchen and Bar at Highland Village, Dr. Jerrick Rose: thank you so much for being here today.
JERRICK: Paul, I appreciate you and Visit Jackson for having me here.
PAUL: Soul Sessions is a production of Visit Jackson. Our executive producers are Jonathan Pettus and Rickey Thigpen. To learn more about our organization and mission, head to visit jackson dot com. I’m your host, Paul Wolf – and you’ve been listening to Soul Sessions.