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Serendipity, JDs BBQ open in new location

Since breaking ground last fall, owners and customers of JDs BBQ and Serendipity Coffee Shop have been awaiting the opening of their new location on the corner of State Avenue and Fairway Street in Dickinson. The moment has arrived.

Since breaking ground last fall, owners and customers of JDs BBQ and Serendipity Coffee Shop have been awaiting the opening of their new location on the corner of State Avenue and Fairway Street in Dickinson. The moment has arrived.

"This is our dream," Nicole said. "If you have a dream and a desire to do something, you can accomplish it. It might take a long time and it has taken us years to get to this point, but you can do it."

JDs BBQ moved into the new location last week and Serendipity is gearing up to make the move this Friday just in time for its monthly live music session.

"We are so excited," Serendipity co-owner Nicole Ross said.

Serendipity and JDs are family-owned operations. Nicole Ross and mom Cynthia Ross own the Serendipity Coffee Shop, while Jeremy Dean Ross and fiancé Maria Tinajero own and operate JDs BBQ.

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"We'll get married one of these days when we get some time off," Jeremy said.

From the first month they opened early in 2005, JDs was already drawing enough business to expand into a larger place, he added.

"We've been waiting 2½ years to build this," he said while gesturing around the restaurant.

The new restaurant features more seating and a bigger kitchen, which will help with catering.

"We do weddings and Christmas parties and all kinds of events," Jeremy said. "We even do whole pigs."

A new service Jeremy is excited to offer is car side to go.

"And another big thing is our 24 on tap," he added. "We have 24 types of beer on tap. I've been told that it's the biggest selection in a four-state area."

On the Serendipity side, customers are able to experience the convenience of a drive-thru window.

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"We'll be baking our breads, scones, cinnamon rolls and caramel rolls," Nicole said. "So people can use the drive thru, pick up a pastry and a coffee in the morning and they head off to work without having to go out in the cold or the heat."

The atmosphere in the seating area is warm and upbeat with splashes of color on the walls, drop-down light fixtures and a fireplace.

With the expanded space, JDs and Serendipity are expanding their menus as well. JDs is now serving salads, appetizers and desserts, along with a few new entrees including steak. But one thing that won't change is JDs commitment to quality.

"You can go anywhere and get a hamburger," Jeremy said. "But what separates our hamburgers is that we start with a 10-ounce patty and when it's cooked, it cooks down to a half pound. When you order a half-pound hamburger here, you get a half pound of meat."

He said if you go to a diner, the meat is often measured at a half pound before it's cooked and when you get it, its down to about 4 or 5 ounces, depending on how much fat is in the meat.

"We only buy premium meat. Everything we have is the best you can get," he said.

And everything they make has a unique blend of spices.

"Everything we serve has a dry rub of seasonings that I came up with that we put on," he added. "The food has its own flavor, but you can add the spicy or mild sauce to it."

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Even down to the cornmeal bun, which is Jeremy's secret recipe, as patrons experience flavors they won't get anywhere else.

"We have people all over the country and the world that know we're here," he said. "Because the DSU students graduate, go back home and tell their friends and bring their friends back when they come back from spring break. There are people that go to school here and when they graduate, they bring their entire family."

Nicole also takes delight in seeing diversity in the customer base.

"It's fun to see the license plates pull up in front of the businesses and see they're from all different states and Canada too," she said. "I think what brings them is that they're looking for something different. You can go to Applebee's or a McDonald's in any town. Here, we want to have fun for ourselves and for our customers."

Serendipity also intends to offer some surprises on the menu.

"We have new sandwiches that mom and I had fun creating," Nicole said. "We have a Greek wrap called Zeus's favorite and a spicy chicken wrap we're calling 'Jamaican Me Hungry.' And another one of our wraps uses Jeremy's sauce."

Something that isn't changing is the live music the first Friday of each month.

"Dickinson had the bars with the rock bands, but I wanted to bring an atmosphere you could bring grandma the kids and your friends to listen to live music and have fun drinks and desserts," Nicole said. "It's a place where you can bring your family."

She said when the live music is available, people bring their children and they'll start dancing.

"Where else are you going to get to share moments like that?" she added.

Looking to the future, Jeremy hopes to bottle his barbeque sauce and sell it at retail locations. Both businesses are also considering franchising down the road.

"We already have people interested in investing in our second or third locations," Jeremy said.

But for now, they are busy settling into their new home and are grateful to their extended family and customers for their support in getting them to this point.

"We have a lot of regular customers that come in every day and have become our friends," Nicole said. "We've got to mention our sister, Breanna. She' worked here as a DSU student when she wasn't busy with classes. We've also got to thank our cousins Sara, Katie and Charles Splichal for helping out and Jesse Splichal with Pacific Sound installed speaker system."

So whether you're looking for a hearty meal, a light lunch or a latte in between, Serendipity Coffee Shop and JDs BBQ is eager to welcome customers, both old and new, in their new location.

"Our goal is to have a place where people can feel comfortable," Jeremy said. "Kind of like when you go to your grandparent's house. It is a place where you feel comfortable and it always smells good."

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