Mother, son keep business cooking

Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie McCalla and son Clinton McCalla Jr. operate Jackie M's, a Milledgeville Road restaurant that was featured in Southern Living magazine.

 

Many people have bought items from mom-and-pop stores. Many have used the services of father-and-son businesses. How many have dined at a mother-and-son restaurant?

Jackie McCalla and her son Clinton McCalla Jr. hope the number will be many as word of mouth spreads about Jackie M's.

"We love what we do," Jackie McCalla said.

"You couldn't put in the hours and the work it takes to run a successful restaurant if you didn't love it," Clinton McCalla added.

Nine years ago, Jackie McCalla started the restaurant at 3308 Milledgeville Road as a catering business after taking a culinary arts course at Augusta Technical College.

Clinton McCalla joined two years ago, once it was established as a full-service restaurant, after earning a culinary arts degree from Johnson & Wales University.

Working with his mother wasn't his first choice.

"I wanted to work in a test kitchen, but those jobs are hard to find," he said. "So when my mother offered to make me a partner, I thought it was the right thing to do. I haven't regretted a single minute of it."

Though she considers herself a good chef, Jackie McCalla said she handles more of the business duties and lets her son handle most of the cooking, especially baking.

"He doesn't think so, but he's a very good chef," she said.

The silent partner in the business is husband Clinton McCalla Sr. Though he works full time as an electrical engineer at Savannah River Site, he visits the restaurant every day.

"This is his hobby," Jackie McCalla said. "He loves being in the restaurant. He's always trying to get us to stay open later so he can spend more time here."

Clinton McCalla Sr., a Philadelphia native, was the inspiration behind one of the restaurant's most popular items: Philly cheese steak sandwiches.

"He didn't like that you couldn't get a real Philly cheese steak here," Jackie McCalla said.

Though the cheese steaks and wings are popular, the mother-son duo recently drew national attention for their cheesecakes in Southern Living magazine.

In addition to classic cheesecakes, they make red velvet, German chocolate and key lime cheesecakes.

"I guess that's kind of my speciality," Clinton McCalla Jr. said. "We're starting to get people in here more and more just for the cheesecakes, and my mother's double-crusted peach cobblers."

What draws customers to the restaurant as much as the food is the family atmosphere, Jackie McCalla said.

"Everybody here is family," she said. "If you work here, you're family. If you eat here, you're family."

 


Jackie and Clinton McCalla

OCCUPATION: Owners of Jackie M's restaurant

AGES: 57; 27

HOMETOWNS: Cincinnati; Martinez

FAMILY: Clinton McCalla Sr. and daughter/sister Janean McCalla

QUOTE: "Everybody here is family. If you work here, you're family. If you eat here, you're family," Jackie McCalla said.