A new restaurant in Bryans Road, High Noon Southern Fine Cuisine & Seafood, opened in September and is already filling a food gap in western Charles County. Patrick McKinnis says, “I live in Indian Head, and when I would go through Bryans Road, there was nothing to eat.” Seeing an opportunity, McKinnis and business partner Michael Odukoya decided to start a restaurant in the Bryans Road Shopping Center, filling a niche with Southern cuisine—crab cakes, chicken wings, and sweet potato bread pudding to name a few--prepared with fresh, high-quality ingredients. Johnnie Graves, a Bryans Road resident, is a third owner and manages marketing for the restaurant.
Patrick and Michael had met about seven years prior when Michael was doing a food safety course for Patrick’s restaurant employees. “We talked then,” says Michael, “and realized we saw eye to eye on ideas with the industry and positive things you can do. We kept saying we should do something together, and when he contacted me about this location, I said ‘I’m all in.’”
This isn’t the first restaurant for either of them. Patrick does consulting with two other restaurants in Charles County, and Michael has been working as a culinary professor at Prince George’s Community College for the past five years. Prior to that, he has developed and managed several restaurants in the DMV area for the last eight years.
As for the menu, the owners do a lot of variations, but staples include fried shrimp, crab cakes, and jerk chicken, along with sides of sweet potatoes, greens, fries, mac and cheese, and more. Their sweet potato bread pudding is a dessert they run out of every day. Seafood is popular, and Patrick learned how to make crab cakes from one of the best, while working for Phillips Seafood Restaurant in the 90s. High Noon’s crab cakes use lump crab meat as the filler and jumbo lump as the main meat. “It’s a high-quality product,” says Patrick. “All fresh ingredients and no junk.”
According to Michael, they try to be accommodating to the tastes of the community. “We keep a rotating menu. We have a few items that are staples, but for the most part we try to rotate them. We get food in small quantities and everything is fresh.” They also do full-service catering for weddings, barbeques, and special events, and they’ll work within the parameters of the clients budget. The meals at High Noon come with large portions. “Most of our meals are two settings—you eat some and save the rest,” says Patrick. “And, that’s the benefit of having a fresh product. The reheat isn’t bad.”
That’s what High Noon brings to the table that’s a little different; they’re a scratch kitchen. “We use all raw ingredients,” says Michael. “So, we don’t use pre-made foods. We even do our stocks from scratch, which allows the customer to know what’s going in their food.” Patrick says, “We don’t use preservatives. We don’t even have a freezer here. I’m not a frozen food guy.”
Giving back to the community is also important to the owners. That includes using local companies to fix equipment and create signs. They fed the homeless on Thanksgiving and are looking at what they can do on a regular basis. And, not just feed them, but teach them to feed themselves. They’re currently doing a community toy drive and talking about doing something for the fire and sheriff departments. “They have to work on Christmas, and we recognize their contributions to the community,” says Michael.
They are also thankful for the people of Charles County in the short time they’ve been open. “They have definitely been supportive of High Noon,” says Patrick. “Their patronage is why we exist.” They estimate that 80% of their business is from repeat customers.
The High Noon owners are happy to be in Bryans Road and still getting to know the tastes of the community. Patrick says, “Opening a restaurant, you gotta love it. Any new business is like a newborn. And, you have to be your own babysitter; you don’t turn your infant over to anybody. So, it’s a lot of hours.” But like a child, they want the business to grow.
If traveling through Western Charles County, stop by for a meal in Bryans Road. Learn more about High Noon Southern Fine Cuisine & Seafood on their Facebook page.
Photo: Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, II, Esq. presenting the County Seal to owners, Johnnie Graves, Patrick McKinnis, and Michael Odukoya.