Jeff Good and Daniel Blumenthal, Owners of Sal & Mookie’s New York Pizza & Ice Cream Joint of Jackson, Mississippi, built a business from the ground up by being focused, fearless and fun. The pair, best friends from high school, opened the 250-seat pizza and ice cream restaurant in April 2007 after operating two other unique and successful restaurants in Jackson, Mississippi.
The two met at Murrah High School in Jackson in 1981 and discussed going into business together some day. After graduation, Good attended Millsaps College and graduated with a degree in Business Administration. Blumenthal earned an Economics degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz and later attended California Culinary academy in San Francisco. In 1994 they met up again, quit their jobs and started Mangia Bene, a three-restaurant group that includes BRAVO, Broad Street Baking Company and Sal & Mookie’s New York Pizza and Ice Cream Joint.
Sal & Mookie’s New York Pizza and Ice Cream Joint offer signature pizza and pasta dishes, signature flavor ice creams, a unique blend of beverages and a full dessert menu. The overall concept for Sal & Mookie’s came from both owners. Good wanted to create an ice cream parlor, and Blumenthal wanted to get involved in a pizzeria that encompassed the concept of serving traditionally large New York style pizza pies. To realize this, they merged the two ideals together and formed Sal & Mookie’s. The inspiration behind the name “Sal & Mookie’s” captures the characters of, Spike Lee’s movie, “Do the Right Thing”. Fittingly, the movie filmed in 1988 takes place in a pizzeria located in the Bronx with its two main characters bearing the names of Sal and Mookie.
Good and Blumenthal have also followed the motto of “Do the right thing” when it comes to improving the community. They decided to open the business in the Fondren Historic District in Jackson, a depressed area on the border of an emerging shopping, arts and entertainment district in midtown. “The restaurant would fill a hole in both the neighborhood’s growth and in the city’s pizza scene. We thought it would be a gift to the city to invest in the area”, says Good. “Part of making a community healthy is economic activity and creating jobs”. The business received an SBA 7(a) guaranteed loan from Trustmark Bank in 2011 to obtain more favorable financing terms.
Jeff and Dan employ more than 200 Jackson residents between their three restaurants and give generously to many causes each year. They have come to represent the gold standard of a successful business measured by the jobs they provide, tax revenues they generate and countless selfless contributions to their community. Both men are extraordinary entrepreneurs who work hard each day to ensure the best value and experience for their customers. Sal and Mookie’s restaurant has received numerous awards including Best New Restaurant, Best Pizza Restaurant, and Best Kid Friendly Restaurant.
Jeff Good and Daniel Blumenthal were the recipients of the 2013 Mississippi Small Business Person(s) of the Year Award presented by the Mississippi District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The award is presented to a small business that exhibits staying power, growth in number of employees, an increase in sales and/or unit volume and contributes to community-oriented projects.
For information regarding SBA’s loan programs and services, call the Mississippi District Office at (601) 965-4378, the Gulfport Branch Office at (228) 863-4449 or visit the Mississippi SBA web site at www.sba.gov/ms.