The coronavirus pandemic has handicapped just about every business large and small, but one such minority establishment which has withstood COVID-19 and the test of time is Inglewood’s very own Serving Spoon ”An Urban Eatery.”sm
For roughly 37 years, The Serving Spoon also known as Da Spoon, has provided mouth watering soulful dishes to the rich and famous, average Joes and more essentially individuals who are homeless.
The talented cook prepares their signature catfish, grits and eggs for 30 years and he pays equal attention to detail when formulating the collard greens, black eyed peas, mac and cheese, candied yams, turkey chops, beef short ribs or ox tails.
However, if you thought The Serving Spoon was all about just great food in a comfortable home-style atmosphere then you are missing the bigger picture of what this institutional eatery really is all about.
“The Serving Spoon is just the brick and mortar,” explained owner JC Johnson.
In other words, it is merely the physical presence of the business in building and structure.
While the business is recognized nationally and has hosted the likes of President Bill Clinton among many other entertainers, sports stars and many other dignitaries, it is also the bedrock foundation in cultivating and nourishing the souls and minds of the less fortunate through employment and philanthropy.
“I am more than proud to say that I am comfortable with hiring and helping people of color who would not have been given a chance otherwise,” Johnson explained.
Essentially it is because Johnson has experienced the abyss personally and he will be the first to tell you that all he has attained and achieved through business is a blessing beyond his wildest dreams.
The father of his lovely dedicated wife Angela of 34 years, Harold E. Sparks, founded The Serving Spoon in 1983 and decided to retire in 2004, which was when Johnson decided to purchase the business and thus expand the vision of it.
Johnson trade marked the name “The Serving Spoon” and also owns the trademark for “An Urban Eatery,” as well as “Love At 1st Bite.”
A graduate of Fairfax High School in Los Angeles, JC, as he is recognized by today, in honor of his late father who owned successful food trucks in the late 50’s and 60’s. JC is a former hospital executive who has built and maintained an entrepreneurial empire that has enabled him to raise three college graduates.
Their daughter Jessica, who now is 33, earned a Bachelor of Arts from UC Santa Cruz, and has two master degrees from Claremont Graduate University, and studied at the University of Oxford. Their eldest son Jerry Jr., now 30, earned a Bachelor of Arts from UCLA, and their youngest son Justin, now 26, earned a Bachelor of Science from the United States Air Force Academy and is a 1st Lieutenant serving his third year of commitment.
During his formative years JC was a high academic achiever at John Burroughs Middle School where he was elected as their first black student body president while maintaining a 3.9 grade point average.
Angela, an Inglewood High School graduate, has often been responsible for transitional ideas in business that has allowed the couple to accumulate a bevy of bonafide relationships that fosters their humanity for others.
“Everything that we do is with love and from the bottom of our hearts and the hardest thing for us is to talk about it,” described the humble servant Johnson.
“My unyielding belief and salvation through Jesus Christ and the comfort He has provided in the midst of challenges is the most important thing in my life. I live for Him and because of Him, any credit that any one anoints to me really belongs to Him.”
A few years ago, JC and Angela were instrumental in developing the first EBT Card operated food truck in an effort to take The Serving Spoon to the poor and homeless in downtown skid row.
Upon arriving with a truck full of all of the soulful culinary cuisines prepared by the eatery they discovered a line of over 350 homeless people awaiting them.
As the first customer approached, to their dismay they discovered the machine that would process the EBT cards did not function.
So, JC and Angela did what just came natural to them, they served every person without reservation or payment.
The costly albeit rewarding adventure guided them to start a non-profit organization and engineered what the couple hopes is a life long mission to combat homelessness.
“It’s just from our heart, straight from our heart,” Angela said of the event.
That is precisely what The Serving Spoon is about, hearts for service, love and some more love and that this institution has evolved into more than an urban eatery it is a testament to Angela and JC Johnson, two of God’s servants entrusted with being missionaries of His good will for years to come.