JoJo's is a family-run restaurant that‘s been part of the coastal Kent community of Tankerton for more than 20 years.
Our style and vibe is influenced by travels around Europe working in local tavernas and trattorias. We don’t do nowt fancy, but we do cook with a conscience, from growing our own herbs, salads and vegetables, to sourcing free range and sustainable produce.
We just love feeding people, bringing family and friends together, and making them happy. That’s the true heart of JoJo’s.
From humble beginnings in the front room of our home on the high street, we have thrown everything physically, financially and mentally into JoJo’s to be where it is today. This incredible building overlooking the sea has been our home for the last 10 years.
But the lease has come to an end, and the building will be put up for sale, and for JoJo’s to survive we need to raise the funds to buy it.
I never set out to be a cook, that wasn’t really the plan, but cooking found me.
JoJo’s was born and bred in Tankerton following a stint cooking and eating my way around Europe and then working in restaurants and corporate catering in the UK. Its first incarnation was a mobile café, but the dream was to turn my tiny bedsit into a meze bar, which, through blood, sweat and tears, Paul and I eventually did. It was all about creating a relaxed, feel-good neighbourhood restaurant, feeding family and friends; we were never looking for accolades, just satisfied, happy customers.
With the ongoing support of the local community and those visiting the area, and then an unexpected visit and review from food critic and author Jay Rayner, we found ourselves being talked about — and in a good way! In 2010 we decided to expand when we eventually secured this fortuitous building on the slopes of Tankerton.
It’s been an amazing, ball-breaking adventure, where we’ve made lifelong friends, created memories, and I’ve had the privilege to mentor incredible young people. Some ambitious to move up the ladder, others just looking for a break in life. I’ve had some absolute diamonds working for me over the years; watching some kids with serious problems turn into great cooks has been one of the most unexpected joys of my life. I think there are kitchens all over the country that are surrogate families for troubled kids and I’m very proud that mine is one of them.
The lease ends in July 2022 and the landlord wants to sell the property.
He’s offered it to us for a great price and we have until 8 October 2021 to raise the funds... Which is where you come in, and believe me, it’s not in my nature to ask for help, but this is for all of us at JoJo's, including our 22 brilliant and talented staff, because it's make or break for us. We’re remortgaging our cottage, selling the car, friends and family are helping financially and for the first time in JoJo’s history, the bank has also agreed to help — but it’s not enough. So through Crowdfunder, we are hoping to raise a minimum of £100k. (Remember folks, with Crowdfunder if we don't reach our target we don't get any dosh.)
Actually we need a lot more than that, but it will get us over the line. It will mean we won't have to borrow as much from the bank and it will be less risky for us, given this very uncertain future we‘re all facing. With the help of some of JoJo’s friends, including Tom Kerridge and Suggs, we have put together a “Rewards” package so that you can buy into something tangible, but we also just hope there is enough love out there for JoJo’s that you’ll want to help us in whatever small way you can, even if it is just sending us good vibes that we might JUST pull this off. ???????? ????????