The restaurant that recently opened at 306 N. Main St. continues 106 years of family tradition. Jones Valhalla Restaurant, formally Jones 212 Bakery & Café, opened its doors in November in its newest and largest location.
“I wanted to move to a different situation…to show that the restaurant is moving forward and going above just being the bakery that it’s always been,” owner Sean Jones explained. “I’m not doing as much baking as I was over there. I’m focusing more now on the food aspect of it, and doing more things that I enjoy to cook.”
Sweets lovers, fear not. There is still the traditional counter full of goodies at the door. But the larger location has much more of a restaurant feel than the previous café. With weekly specials including options like pan seared pork cutlets and sesame crusted cod, and of course, the homemade mac and cheese, Sean is taking Jones Valhalla Restaurant to a new level. “It will definitely get bigger and better as we continue on,” he said.
It was 1909, over one hundred years ago, that the Jones family originally started the bakery in Jamestown. Sean’s great grandfather and his family ran the first bakery, which moved to several locations before settling as Jones Tasty Bakery on Pine St. in 1974. Part of the original sign from those 40 years ago hangs in the back of the new Jones Valhalla Restaurant.
Jones Tasty Bakery closed in 2005, but Sean reopened it as Jones 212 Bakery & Café in 2010, right across the street from its old place of residence. The progression continues into the new restaurant now located on N. Main St.
“Valhalla is Viking heaven,” Sean described. “Valhalla was a giant hall filled with food, drink, and maidens.” The new name, stemming from the Jones’ Swedish descent, alludes to the large space filled with food and drink that is Jones Valhalla Restaurant.
Sean got his start working with food as a boy growing up in his family’s bakery. At the age of 20, he left the family business to work in a restaurant, but he learned his best cooking skills from his mother.
“My mother’s a wonderful cook. She’s Italian, and she always cooked wonderful, wonderful food growing up,” Sean raved. “I never missed dinner.” A lifetime of working with and eating good food has developed in Sean a passion for creating good classic foods and experimenting with new flavors.
His ideas stem from a mix of things he’s cooked in the past and new things in magazines or books that catch his eye. “It just kind of comes to you,” Sean explained. “I’ve been working with food a long time and I’ve cooked many different styles.”
The menu is always changing to exhibit his creations, with new specials each week. There are some constant classics on the menu as well, like the pesto grilled chicken salad. “That has been on the menu ever since I opened [on Pine St.],” Sean said. “It’s kind of a downtown staple.”
Combining all the different flavors to create something new is one of Sean’s favorite things about cooking, but the thrill of creating something is not what takes the cake. “The best satisfaction is making someone happy,” he said. “That makes me feel really good inside because I know that I made that person’s day.”
It seems appropriate for the Jones name to have a main spot in downtown after so many years. Sean hopes to continue expanding the business, and eventually be open for dinner. Currently, Jones Valhalla Restaurant is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, with lunch served from 11-3. On Saturdays they are open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with lunch from 11-2.
“I look forward to being open and being a part downtown Jamestown,” Sean said. “I hope everyone at least comes in once, and gives us a chance to make them happy.”