Our story

Jessi’s: Where Taste Meets Tradition Since 1997.

Our Purpose:

Our mission is to give you, the customer, the best dining experience possible in a warm welcoming atmosphere. To that goal, we start with the highest quality, freshest ingredients, make each dish from scratch in our kitchen, and deliver it to your table beautifully plated and delicious.

Our Restaurant:

We want you to feel at ease in Jessi’s warm, welcoming atmosphere. The elegant European decor conveys our family history and lets you know that your dining experience will be special.

Our People:

The moment you walk through our doors, you are the one we are here for. We want to get to know you, welcome you warmly into our own family. Your dining experience is given our personal attention. Never hesitate to let us know how we can meet your specific needs.

Our Product:

Jessi’s is widely known for the quality and variety of our kitchen’s made-from-scratch dishes. Mama’s homemade bread and many more have built Jessi’s reputation.  Only the best freshest ingredients go into our high-quality dishes.

Our Family:

Jessi’s is family owned, with each family member contributing to its success. My father had a long history of managing restaurants. My maternal grandmother—everybody called her “Mamma”—was the cook for the restaurant’s first ten years. (She decided to retire at age 80.) Since then, as I have assumed management of Jessi’s, we continue our family’s legacy by using Mama’s original recipes, making our dishes from scratch using the best, most fresh ingredients, and treating our customers as if they were part of our own family.

Our Founder:

My father, DJ, is a living example of the American Dream come true.

He escaped from Communist Albania when he was 19 years old. In Yugoslavia, he was accused of being a spy, imprisoned, and sentenced to death. He escaped, was caught, escaped again, and finally reached a refugee camp in Italy. There, because of Geneva Convention rules, he was granted political asylum, received a visa, and came to the United States.

On Christmas Day, 1964, he arrived in New York City with no family connections or financial resources. Starting as a dishwasher, he observed and learned the restaurant business, eventually working up to night manager at several restaurants. Meanwhile, he studied business administration at New York University.

The quality of the restaurants DJ managed improved with his growing experience and education. As an employee of Restaurant Associates, he met and worked with Chef Joe Baum, the innovative restaurateur who created restaurants like the Four Seasons, a restored Rainbow Room, the Hawaiian Room, the Forum of the Twelve Caesars, Tavern on the Green, La Fonda Del Sol, Zum-Zum, Quo Vadis, the Trattoria, the Brasserie, and Windows on the World. This last was on the top (107th) floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

As Business Advisor with Restaurant Associates, he worked at Walt Disney World in Orlando from 1973 to 1974. There, he hosted a banquet for then-president Richard M. Nixon, and for the Motown singing group, The Supremes.

He then went to work at Ancorp National Services, from 1974 to 1978, first as regional director and ultimately becoming vice president. At Ancorp, he was responsible for 230 restaurants across America, including those servicing the workers of the Alaskan Pipeline.

With John F. Gilmore, founder of the Gilmore Collection Restaurants, he opened Thornapple Village Inn in 1978, in Ada, Michigan. It was voted the top French restaurant in Michigan. Former President Gerald Ford was a regular customer there.

In 1997, DJ and his wife Roza opened Jessi’s. DJ has two children: daughter Judy who owns Studio 921 in Baltimore, and son Jason who manages Jessi’s today.

Take home a loaf of our homemade
bread baked fresh daily

5.95

Call ahead to reserve yours
hot & fresh from the oven!

(727) 541-1200

 

Contact Us Today!