Pensacola restaurant owners Ty and Ursula Jones of Family Ty’s “Good Eats” set out to create a lasting, local event last year that would celebrate Black History Month in Pensacola. After a successful first outing, the Black-owned food vendor event Street Chefs Unite will make a return this Saturday.
Ursula Jones said the second-annual event is intended to help celebrate Black history on an annual basis that can be continued in the Pensacola for generations to come. She said participants will be able look around and see the “Black history in motion” of current business owners, along with eat a lot of good food. She also hopes the event will help aspiring Black business owners to get their start.
“We want the event to really be featured as two successful Black owners from Pensacola that started from the ground up, with nothing,” Ursula Jones said. “As far as Black history is concerned, so much of who we are is based on prayers, dreams and visions of our forefathers. To be able to see those prayers come full fruition into current business owners is really a blessing.”
The event is scheduled to last from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 3141 Potter St. in Ferry Pass. In addition to food being prepared by Family Ty’s, there will be a variety of other vendors, including What the Cluck Chicken Truck, GC Deli, Who Dat Po’Boys, East Kings Corner Café, Pika Grill, Sweet Dreaya’s and Trap Snacks.
The family-friendly event will also have plenty of activities like cornhole and life-sized lawn games. There will be tables and chairs set up, handwashing stations and portable bathrooms. As far as entertainment, there will be live music by DJ Hale and DJ Tiger and a guest speaker on Black history.
Family Ty’s “Good Eats” a local favorite:‘Made with love’: Family Ty’s Good Eats becoming a favorite Ensley lunch spot
Peruvian food truck rolls into Pensacola:Peru native brings authentic dishes to Pensacola through Jumping Lomo Peruvian food truck
Ty Jones said the lineup of vendors for the event were food-truck driven, but vendors without a truck will be setting up booths.
“Originally, it’s something I came up with,” Ty Jones said of the idea for the event. “I just wanted to incorporate all Black businesses here in Pensacola. We did it last year and it was a major success. It’s just kind of celebrating not only Blacks, but you know, everyone. Family, friends, everyone to come out and support this event.”
He said fellow Black-business owner and co-founder of the event, Chris Graye, owner of Graye’s Granite Inc., is “a major foodie” himself. Graye wanted to support the event in his own way, by offering up the unused acres of land next to his business to host the vendors.
Graye said he believes collaboration to be important amongst business owners that he would like to see developed more in Pensacola.
“We put all our resources together, all our customers together. We all advertise together under one roof, under one umbrella,” Graye said.
The event not only provides a spotlight and a platform for Black business owners, but also is a window to network and exchange business advice, Ursula Jones said. Especially for those just starting out.
The Jones are well-seasoned in the restaurant industry, now operating a restaurant on West Nine Mile and two different food trucks. It did not come easy, as they started by opening their soul food-styled food truck part-time on U.S. Highway 29 in 2009. After they ran the business during the day, Ty Jones was still maintaining his full-time job on the night shift until the business was well-known enough to pursue the venture full-time.
“We did a lot of barbecuing, ribs and chicken wings, all other different varieties of food,” Ty Jones said. “We just built the brand and built the business from there.”
Ursula Jones said events like the Street Chefs Unite allow opportunities for business owners to support one another and collaborate.
“My husband would get so many questions, ‘How did you start, man I want to do this,’” Ursula Jones recalled people asking. “He really became like a (tutor) as far as how to progress in that field. I think it’s so much more of a sentiment as, ‘This is how we did it. Because we did it, you can do it too.’”