LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Three years in culinary school and nearly 30 years in Las Vegas resort kitchens has brought Jerry Durr to fulfilling his dream: Jerry’s Down Home Kitchen.

Durr opened the first restaurant in a new retail center at Carey Avenue and Revere Street in North Las Vegas. It’s close to the home he’s lived in for 47 years, and a welcome addition to a neighborhood that for years was bypassed in the valley’s explosive growth.

To Jerry, it’s home. “I never will leave Vegas Heights. It’s my community. I love it. I had an opportunity to buy another house, but why go there? I’m going to stay right in my community, enjoy my community. I love my community,” he said.

Restaurants in the new retail center at Carey Avenue and Revere Street in North Las Vegas. (Greg Haas / 8NewsNow)

He’s not alone in making a go at business in the neighborhood. He opened a couple weeks ago, and the next restaurant to open will be WOW Wings — likely open for business on Sunday, Nov. 20. A list of the businesses that are in the center so far:

  • Beyond the Barrier Salon Suites, Jaya Demmons (open)
  • Jerry’s Down Home Kitchen, Jerry Durr (open)
  • Sabores Mexican Restaurant, Romelia Lopez
  • Sebastian’s Family Pizza, Diego Sebastian
  • WOW Wings, Gerald Juniel and Walter Jones III (opening Sunday)

“Jerry is a very nice person, easygoing. And please don’t tell him about his cookin.’ He know it’s good,” manager Stephanie Macklin said as Jerry went about prepping food with help from cook Jason Garland.

“We’ve had a big, big turnout,” Macklin said. “Also, our first day, our Sunday, we sold out of everything. And this Sunday we sold out of everything, too.” She said the restaurant and other businesses in the center have had a long wait to get phone service — you might not be able to pay by card until that’s resolved.

Listening to Jerry Durr explain soul food will give you an idea about his passion for cooking.

“How can I explain it. It’s something that we really like, it’s something we enjoy eatin.’ When you say soul food, that mean that take us years and years back. With chitlins and pig feets, meat loaf, all that,” Durr said. “That take us way back. I mean, years, years back. My generation, my mother’s generation, my mother’s mother’s generation. So soul food is something that everybody loves and everybody wants. Can’t get enough of it.”

Jerry Durr, owner of Jerry’s Down Home Kitchen in North Las Vegas. (Greg Haas / 8NewsNow)

He said catfish and fried pork chops are on the menu every day, and daily specials will have you coming back for more. On Saturday, it’s barbecued ribs and chicken. Sunday brings oxtails and turkey necks.

Durr’s menu has plenty of variety, and he said he had the best mac and cheese in town. “Salmon croquettes, fish and grits, fried pork chops, our smothered potatoes, home fries, our chicken and waffles,” Durr said. A first-time customer on Friday afternoon was enjoying a crab boil.

Durr has been waiting for the opportunity for nearly five years, with setbacks as supply chain delays emerged during the pandemic. Now, the magic he learned from his mother is on the menu.

“We didn’t have nothing on Revere and Carey. We needed something in this area. I’m glad I was able to do that for the people, for the community. We had to go so far out to get breakfast, now they can come to Jerry’s Down Home Kitchen. Get their breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

The retail center is a small start to big things in North Las Vegas. The city worked with Agora Realty & Management to make it happen, and now they are partnering on an ambitious project at Lake Mead Boulevard and Las Vegas Boulevard North called NLV Village.

Agora’s performance in developing the Carey and Revere building gave city officials confidence that the larger project will work.

For businesses like Jerry’s Down Home Kitchen and WOW Wings, Agora’s restaurant-ready spots included features like a built-in canopy hood for grills, washable walls and ceilings, a good grease trap system, a three-compartment sink and ADA restrooms, according to Agora’s Christian Diaz. For NLV Village, Agora intends to streamline a lot of the aspects of running a business by providing restaurant spots that can be up and running quickly.