ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — “This is my own seasoning. It’s got like 16 different seasonings in it — an ancient secret,” said Chef Johnny Newsome.
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He’s currently prepping salmon - his best-selling fish.
“When they go on the smoker they don’t last 10 minutes,” he said, smiling.
The St. Petersburg native has been cooking for family and friends since he was a teenager.
He took his cooking creds into the catering game and now he owns a restaurant—J-News BBQ & Grill in St. Petersburg on 22nd Street South.
He’ll be selling it at the Juneteenth Business Expo in south St. Petersburg.
Along with a customer favorite — ribs.
“If you don’t love your food, you know, it won’t love you back,” he said, as he used a dry rub on a rack of ribs.
“Anything positive involved in the community I want to be a part of it.”
Newsome is a return vendor.
“We had a fun time. My family was there, other families were — everybody’s just smiling and supporting each other,” he said.
Newsome’s gift of creating great meals has enriched his life.
“It means everything. I’m closer to my family, closer to my friends, and we can all enjoy the food as well as I do you know.”
Newsome says festivals like the Juneteenth Business Expo are a positive return on his investment. He gets customers to his restaurant after they find him at festivals.
“A lot of customers do come from me attending these specific events,” said Newsome. “They’ll come to the restaurant to find out ‘Where this barbeques at?’”