Jimmie Reed (above) will soon open Mt. Airy's newest restaurant. (Photo by Sue Ann Rybak)

by Sue Ann Rybak

Mt. Airy is well known for its variety of cuisine: from Italian to Southern soul food, there is something for everyone. But if you have been looking for gluten-free, low-sodium, locally-grown Southwestern or Mexican-style food, you’re out of luck – but only until September.

That’s when Jimmie Reed, co-owner of Little Jimmie’s Bakery Cafe at 6669 Germantown Ave., plans to open a Southwestern-style, fast-casual restaurant called Poquito Jaime’s, which means “little Jimmie’s” in Spanish. Although the name for Little Jimmie’s Bakery Cafe is a combination of his name and that of his business partner, Lora Little, Reed said as a kid growing up in North Carolina his nickname was “little Jimmie.”

The new restaurant will be located at the former site of the Wired Beans Cafe, 6734 Germantown Ave., which closed when owner Robert Wheeler opened a Wired Beans Cafe in Germantown.

Reed said the inspiration for the restaurant came from family and friends who all love Southwestern cuisine.

“I love the food, the people and the environment,” he said.

While the menu will include burritos, quesadillas and some signature desserts, there won’t be any queso until he finds a healthy recipe.

“I am really big on changing the way city folks think about fast food,” Reed said. “It can be great, fast and healthy.”

Reed plans to feature at least six desserts, including an avocado cupcake. Designing a healthy, mouthwatering menu is something Reed takes to heart.

“Since this is my community, I want to do everything I can to help the community think about healthy eating,” said Reed, who lost over 100 lbs. by changing his diet.

As co-owner of a bakery, he said that can sometimes be difficult. The key to eating healthy is “thinking out of the box,” Reed said. Everything in his restaurant will be roasted or baked. No fried food will be on the menu.

Reed hopes to open Poquito Jaimes by mid-September, and it will be serving customers seven days a week.

Reed is no stranger to the restaurant business. After getting a master’s degree in business, he worked at Chipotle for seven years and opened more than 35 stores for the chain from New York to Washington, D.C.

Reed said Mt. Airy is a perfect place to open a business because it “has a small town feel and people genuinely want to get to know you.”

“I want to give a big thanks to the Mt. Airy residents for supporting Little Jimmie’s Bakery Cafe,” said Reed, who has lived in Mt. Airy for 14 years.

Reed wants to have the same “warm and inviting atmosphere” at Poquito Jaimes as he has at Little Jimmie’s Bakery Cafe. He plans to have a casual dining area and plenty of seating outside on the patio. Reed believes the key to having a successful restaurant is supporting the community. By buying local produce and meats he is investing in his neighborhood.

“I really want to help my community by providing jobs for people in the neighborhood,” Reed said. “When business owners and residents support local organizations and businesses everyone wins.”