On any given day, Jeffeary Miskiri-for most people "Jeff Chef"-is ready to take action. You might find the 34-year-old restaurant owner jumped into the kitchen of his flagship store Po Boy Jim on Northeast H Street, where there are New Orleans-style sandwiches and gumbo. Or at his new company Creole, located at 14 Columbia Heights. (When a VIP shows up, he will also drop by—the last time it was Sasha Obama.) A short bartender, he can mix hurricanes as he pleases.
Even when independent restaurants across the country are struggling, Miskiri's hard work has paid off. In October, the Tacoma Park native-who used to prepare fitness-focused meals for former NFL star Vernon Davis and served as the private chef of Jamaican Ambassador-opened Suga & Spice in Hyattsville , This is a cozy southern/Caribbean restaurant that pays a tribute to his family’s roots in Louisiana and the Caribbean. Next year, Miskiri Hospitality Group will triple in size, increase the number of employees from 80 to more than 200, and open five new restaurants. He is planning to build a fast and casual Po Boy Jim in Colombia; Miss Toya’s Creole House, a huge attraction in the south of Silver Spring; and a food desert east of the Anacostia River for a long time. Of two adjacent restaurants. The health-conscious cafe Miss Toya's Soul Juice and the comfort food restaurant Miss Toya's Southern Cajun Kitchen-a rare sit-in restaurant near Blanche, Pennsylvania-will open in the Pennsylvania branch next year. This is the revitalization of developer Jair Project Lynch. One day, Miskiri hopes to expand the empire beyond Washington.
As the youngest restaurant owner on the Washington Metropolitan Hotel Association's board of directors, he started early. When he was ten years old, he was frying gold nuggets at McDonald’s, and his aunt was the director of one of the chain’s first black franchisees in Washington. "I was really surprised to meet an African-American McDonald's owner," Mischili said, noting that his early experience has affected the way he does business now. "Structure, uniforms, policies in place, ethics, timely provision of food-these things will stay with you."
When he was a teenager, he started cooking at his catering company, Taste of Caribbean. But Miskiri, the second of 30 grandchildren, really started cooking at family gatherings: a generous buffet catered to their southern and Caribbean ancestry, including jambalaya, jerk chicken, plantains, shrimp and grits, and okra soup. "Everyone has their own roles and responsibilities-I am a chef," he said. "My cooking training is family."
This article was published in Washingtonian Magazine in November 2021.
The best breakfast and brunch you can try every weekend, and our most popular food stories of the week.
Anna Spiegel reported on the dining scene in her hometown of DC. Before joining the Washingtonian in 2010, she studied at the French Culinary Institute in New York and the MFA program at Columbia University, and held various culinary and writing positions in New York and St. John's in the U.S. Virgin Islands.