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Jackson News

Posted on: September 12, 2016

September Business Highlight: Ray's Smokehouse and Grill


The City of Jackson has chosen Ray’s Smokehouse and Grill, located at 369 West Northside
Drive, as the Business Highlight for September 2016. Although a relatively new business, having
opened under the current brand in 2014, the business has quickly made its mark in the area of
delicious smoked meats.

Co-owner Raymond Kennedy began to develop a knack for producing
good smoked meats when, instead of continuing to pay people to cook for family gatherings,
he purchased a smoker and started cooking himself. Soon he was smoking meats for
other families and their special occasions. This led to being offered the job of catering bass
fishing tournaments at the reservoir and subsequently taking the job of operating the kitchen
for local pool hall/bar, The Green Room. After a short period of operating in the Jackson Square
Shopping Center under the Ray’s brand, the business landed at the present location. Co-owner, Tasha Cayson has been and still is instrumental in all the accomplishments of the business, having been taught to cook by Ray after they became a couple. Both of them work each day in the restaurant alongside family members and lifelong friends. Tasha said the “objective in assembling the close knit family team is to ensure customer satisfaction through providing each customer with the best food, cooked to their satisfaction, and the display of quality customer service”. The business has often been lauded for its homely atmosphere.

Both owners are Jackson natives who want to see Jackson progress. Realizing progress hinges on economic development, they are set on expanding within the Jackson market, hoping one day to be able to provide jobs to fellow Jacksonians. Even beyond that they want to capture already exhibited markets in other cities, having had many customers come from, neighboring and outlying cities and even neighboring states. They both agree, responding in harmony, that it’s important to them to grow the business for the sake of the future well being of their 8 children, of which they take pride in being the best parents possible to.

The owners’ commitment to community extends to their financial contributions to local schools children dance groups and other youth activities. They serve as unofficial adopter of Walton Elementary School, the school their children attend, having sponsored the father daughter ball, school field day and most any other activity where sponsorship is needed. Because there business operations is so hands on now they can’t be as active in participation as they want to be, but in the future, with business expansion they envision being a lot more active. They also contribute financially to national charities, such as St. Jude’s.

Ray’s Smokehouse and Grill is what the City of Jackson’s business community is built on -- a quality small businesses owned by people who care about citizens in Jackson and display the utmost of pride. You are invited to visit Ray’s, open Tuesday through Saturday each week from 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. You won’t be disappointed. Mayor, Tony T. Yarber and the city’s Office of Economic Development are pleased to be honoring Ray’s Smokehouse and Grill as the Business Highlight for September 2016.

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