The Evolution of Catie Rosie’s
When I moved to St. Augustine in 2013, I was a fish out of water. I moved to town from Tallahassee for a new job with a respected privately held company, was transitioning out a failed marriage, and looking for a new beginning. The job opportunity afforded me earning potential I had never known since beginning my career and the failed marriage gave me the chance to actually focus on getting to know myself more than I had since college, while pursuing old passions previously obscured through compromise and routine.
Five years later, I count myself blessed to have led a team through transformational change at work, though it didn’t come without my own discomfort and forced growth. I failed to accomplish everything I set out to achieve, but in my limitations can say that I have truly learned what I value most in performing work. I now believe that the impression you leave on people is what matters most. How have you as a contributor to or leader of a team--interceded on their behalf, supported them, and accomplished goals with them? This is what I’ve come to value most—the relationships, the interactions, the effort.
Parallel to this education, my earnings financed travel to locales I’d never been (Hawaii & Cali), allowed me to make more frequent trips home to Detroit, and gave me the freedom to take road trips with my son. That extra disposable income also gave the room to tinker a bit with passion that I’ve had for as long as I can remember: cooking. I have always cooked at home, watching cooking shows as an adolescent, attentive to my Grandmother when she prepared meals, studying cookbooks then experimenting with my learnings. In college I saw an opportunity to sell seafood dinners to my classmates on weekends with a delivery to their dorms and nearby campus apartments. Some Fridays we took the food to the people and setup near the campus center, frying fish for sandwiches and dinners made to order. Early into my career and marriage I sold lunch meal plans to my coworkers, me benefiting from the accomplishment of preparing their meals as much as they were from the convenience. The love of cooking and hustle of entrepreneurship runs deep within me.
Just prior to my move from Tallahassee to St. Augustine, I purchased an old food truck --a 1981 Chevy Grumman Step Van, used to sell BBQ and who knows what else in its former lives. Back then, I wasn’t quite sure what my plans were for the truck. Up to that point I had been a serial 9-5 employee, angling my career path into management and eager to take on more and more responsibility. Though I had no idea how I would run a business while pursuing upward mobility, I did a little here and there to prepare a foundation. I set up an LLC, had a logo designed, and started to develop a menu. Once in St. Augustine I looked for opportunities to market the business and actually sell food. The truck was no where near ready, it had been sitting in storage all this time and needing more and more regressive care the longer I waited to start. I came up with the concept of Soul Food Sundays in 2016, a summertime pop-up event in the St. Augustine community of the Lincolnville. The premise of the event was Soul Food on a Sunday, along with the opportunity to listen to Soul Music and Poetry during the early afternoon into evening. I set up in front of a friend’s store June through August that summer with a different food theme for each month. The event was more or less a bust. Though there were sales, it wasn’t enough traffic in the area on those Sunday evenings to make much of impact. A few months later, I participated as a vendor at the same spot during a local Music Fest and was sold out of food within a few hours. These experiences created much more of a resolve in me that preparing and serving food for others to enjoy was truly my passion.
Fast forward to present day, I’ve spent the last couple years continuing to work on my truck and bring it closer to being ready for business start—tentatively January 2019! My focus is still the same as it has always been, bringing soul food sourced from local and seasonal ingredients and prepared with influences from other cuisines to the masses. Catie Rosie’s will give patrons the opportunity to explore familiar flavors of soul food with exposure to new cuisines, while supporting sustainability and economic development.