Spartanburg chef John Foster has a motto: “You’re only as great as the last meal you served.”
The 48-year-old restaurateur is far from serving his last meal.
Foster and his wife, Glenda, have opened a new 70-seat eatery J & G Restaurant and Catering at 997 Rogers Bridge Road in Spartanburg County near Duncan.
“We’re very happy to be here,” said John Foster. “There’s a lot of growth happening in Spartanburg. It’s a good place to be a small business owner. We’ve got a great team. I feel like it’s all coming together.”
Foster’s culinary career began in the early 1990s when he took a job as a dishwasher at the Piedmont Club in Spartanburg.
“I met some great chefs,” he said. “They noticed a hardworking dishwasher and said, ‘Why don’t you come help us prep.’ I learned a lot.”
Inspired by these chefs, Foster decided to take some culinary classes at Greenville Technical College.
He said he began traveling around the country, doing cooking demonstrations and TV spots.
“I am humbled to have had those opportunities,” Foster said. “This is my dream. This is what I really want to do.”
In 2010, Foster opened John-John’s Restaurant off Howard Street in Spartanburg.
He said economic headwinds and the business’s “tough” location cut short its lifespan. But his catering business continued to thrive.
The Fosters recently decided to give it another try with John running the kitchen and Glenda taking responsibility for financial and other business duties.
Their daughter, Brooke Macomson is serving as the manager. Lashondia Brown and two of the couple’s nieces, Raquel Brown and Destiny Spearman, are also on staff.
“We’re very excited about being able to operate a restaurant and to serve people,” Glenda Foster said. “We want everyone to feel like they’re a part of our family.”
John Foster described the restaurant as a traditional meat-and-three.
He said all of his vegetables come from a local farm, and he is purchasing his proteins from Greenville Meats.
“Nothing is frozen. Everything is fresh,” John Foster said.
The eatery is currently open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., but the Fosters said they plan to expand their hours as the business continues to grow.
A breakfast menu consists of fish and grits for $7.25, salmon patties for $8.25, and a two-egg breakfast for $2.99. There is also a pick-four option for $6.50 that allows customers to choose from sausage, bacon, bologna, pancakes, French toast, eggs, grits, and hash browns, with a fresh cup of coffee.
The lunch menu features the meat-and-three special for $8.50.
Proteins include chicken livers, fried or baked chicken, a hand-cut smothered pork chop, fish, and hand-pattied hamburger steak.
Sides include turnip greens, macaroni and cheese, rice and gravy, okra, potato salad, fresh fruit, and banana pudding.
Daily specials, such as pulled pork and Boston butt barbecue, will also be available.
Foster said his catering business is in full swing. He said he sees great potential on that side of the operation with a number of the county’s largest industrial employers nearby.
The couple said they plan to build a following and then hope to purchase one or two food trucks that could be deployed in Greenville or Charlotte, N.C. They haven’t ruled out adding more brick-and-mortar locations.
Glenda Foster said the couple plans to soon provide outreach to the community by serving food to area residents in need.
They also plan to offer special promotions for police officers and firefighters.
John Foster earned a Best Presentation People’s Choice award at the 2013 and 2014 March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction in Spartanburg.
“I put a lot of pride into what I do,” he said. “Whether I’m cooking here or for my wife at home, I take great care to make sure the presentation and flavors are excellent. You won’t catch me just slopping things on a plate… I have great respect for people. I know what it feels like be a customer. What I would never want is for someone to walk away from my restaurant feeling like they didn’t get my best.”
For more information, visit: www.facebook.com/johnnyglenda.