Jro's hits the mark in Canton

By Kyle Perrotti | Mar 17, 2017
Courtesy of: Town of Canton From left are Alderman Carole Edwards, Mayor Mike Ray, James Zujkowski, Robert Kuhhirte and Randy O’Quinn, Alderman Zeb Smathers, Dyllan Cooley and Alderman Gail Mull.

Canton’s newest restaurant doesn’t even have a sign yet, and already business is booming.

Jro’s, the much-anticipated second restaurant opened by Robert Kuhhirte and Randy O'Quinn, the owners of Smoky Mountain Sub Shop in Waynesville, has already won the town over. The building at 90 Main St. in Canton, was bought just over a year ago, and the journey to opening day was a long, sometimes bumpy road. Both say they are happy with the end result.

The restaurant opened for business last week and held a ribbon cutting with town officials Wednesday. Already, people have been filling booths all day.

Although the owners pride themselves on the shop’s fare, which includes burgers, subs, sandwiches, salads and soups, it is the ribeye burgers that Kuhhirte said is perhaps the one item that sets them apart from other burger places.

“We buy these huge ribeye steaks we put through a meat grinder and hand pat the burgers,” he said.

Kuhhirte said the biggest reason Jro’s was able to become a reality in Canton was the way town officials courted their business. From Police Chief Bryan Whitner’s original suggestion they open a location there to the $15,000 grant approved by the board of aldermen, Canton has been in their corner.

“These people they elected have just bent over backward for us,” he said.

Because the building is old, the opening date was a little bit later than anticipated. Kuhhirte noted that they had to replace some trusses, all of the plumbing and some of the electric, but he added that with all the town’s help, it wasn’t quite as stressful as it could have been.

“That was all covered by the grant money, so it wasn’t even a hurdle," he said.

Kuhhirte said he thinks that, in the future, customers are likely to see the availability of beer and wine and also a counter in the front of the store which will serve ice cream and milkshakes. Both are likely at least six months out, however.

Like most people who have recently opened for business in Canton, Kuhhirte said he recognizes Canton as an area just waiting to boom, and believes anyone with a sound business model will likely find success there.

“I really think Canton is just going to explode,” he said.

Town Manager Seth Hendler-Voss said he hopes Jro’s will let Canton residents know that their town is on the up-and-up.

“The restaurant sends a message that Canton is a town worth investing in because of the underestimated buying power of our residents who are hungry for expanded options to keep their dollars local,” Hendler-Voss said.

Kuhhirte said the biggest issue they’ve run into since opening the new location has been the long wait times customers have endured due to the high volume of business. But he also wanted to thank people for being so patient and understanding, despite the long waits. He noted that he is amazed at how kind and complimentary everyone has been.

“They think we’re doing them a favor,” Kuhhirte said. “But really they’re doing us a favor.”