All you need is one bite of Jackson’s Five Star Catering and it will have you wanting to come back for more. Founded by husband and wife duo, Anthony “Tony” and Cindy Jackson, the full-service catering company has been serving delicious food to the Detroit area since 1995, specializing in dinner parties, family picnics, baby showers, gourmet boxed lunches, elegant weddings, corporate events, and other amenities. And it all started through inspiration from Tony’s mother.
“I got into catering by learning how to cook from my mom,” said Tony Jackson, who is the CEO and head chef of the business. “She taught me a lot about cooking. I also worked at different restaurants and I decided that I wanted to go into business for myself. And I that’s what I did.”
The Jackson’s first opened for business at a building on Livernois and West Eight Mile Road next to Baker’s Keyboard Lounge but outgrew the location after 18 years. They now cook their food at their headquarters in Ferndale on East Nine Mile Road but still do 80 percent of their business in Detroit. Jackson’s Five Star Catering has prepared food for the likes of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History, Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, the Michigan Science Center, Triumph Church, and many others, becoming a well-known and well-respected brand in the region.
Detroit voted Jackson’s Five Star Catering as the best catering business in the city during the Michigan Chronicle’s Best in Black Detroit awards in 2017.
What started off with one truck and an ambitious couple, has turned into a thriving family business with 20 catering trucks on the road and six concession trailer, with a vast array of menus and entrees. The Jacksons even employ their siblings, children, nieces, and nephews to help run the business.
“Business has been really good over the past 20 years,” Tony Jackson said. “We do a lot of events in the city and we give back to our clients. They have been good to us, so we like to be good to them. We try to keep my family incorporated into the business because they have helped us grow this since we started, and family is important to us.”
With their catering business doing well and Mrs. Jackson wanting to send their children to private school, the Jackson family got into the concession truck business to earn more money. A decade later, you can see their Motown Bistro and elephant ear trucks at every major event and festival in downtown Detroit and the surrounding areas. The Jacksons parked their Motown Bistro food truck around the Dodge Fountain at Hart Plaza during the 2018 Movement Detroit Techno Fest for the very first time, which had over 100,000 visitors in attendance. There, people had the opportunity to taste their Motown Burger, which is the most popular item on the menu.
“There was a big market with the food trucks and we saw potential growth in our business,” said Cindy Jackson, who handles the back end of Jackson’s Five Star Catering. “We geared everything on the trucks toward the Motown era since we are from Detroit and when we are at shows, we play our Motown music. It has helped grow our catering business and there is no better way to bring our food to the patrons at all the festivals in downtown.”
Born and raised in Detroit, Tony Jackson said his next move is to open a restaurant in the city. The Jackson’s Five Star Catering and Motown Bistro brands are strong in the city and giving back to those who give to him is business first.
“That’s my next goal,” said Jackson. “I was in Detroit and I couldn’t find a bigger building at the time, so I had to relocate to Ferndale. I still do most of my business with Detroiters, which is why I like to give and donate back to the city. I would like to come back and I’m looking now.”