It’s been nearly three weeks since business partners Joe Clarke and Leroy Hines opened the doors to J&L’s Chicken, Fish and Ribs at 1020 E. Main St. in the former Kratoville’s Luncheonette. And there were big smiles on their faces as they waited with general manager Caprice Crippen and kitchen manager Mattie Johnson for the official ribbon cutting, featuring customary giant scissors, Tuesday afternoon.
“I want to thank you for revitalizing this restaurant,” said councilman Jim Wooten. “It is going to become a staple in this town.”
Mr. Hines joined forces around seven years ago with Mr. Clarke when he first purchased the building and then parted ways with his former business partner. Mr. Hines started his food career working at McDonald’s when he was 14 years old and worked his way up to manager in both the Riverhead and Flanders locations. He started his catering empire 30 years ago and now has nine food trucks and two ice cream trucks.
He said that they tried to have a soft opening for lunch but it turned out to be way busier than they thought it would. The most popular items are the chicken wings and the gyro, he said.
“Riverhead has been very welcoming,” Mr. Hines said. “We work hard to put good food out, done well. There is no soul food around so J & L’s is the place.”
Lillian Pennon, assistant pastor at Galilee Church of God in Christ — Mr. Hines’ church — put a philosophical spin on it saying: “Good things come to those who wait.”