Thanks to Entrepreneur Vonda McPherson, Jazz Comes to Newark

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Duke Supper ClubThe dough keeps rising and the profits keep rolling for enterprising entrepreneur Vonda McPherson.

McPherson, owner of the popular Newark eatery Vonda’s Kitchen, recently expanded her epicurean empire and opened Duke’s Southern Table earlier this month in the heart of the city—the first African American owned jazz supper club in the the Brick City in nearly 40 years.? McPherson, a former medical sales representative, is riding a wave of entrepreneurial success others crave.

Earlier this year, she landed a two-day five figure contract for catering and tailgating services for the 2014 Super Bowl. She was one of only a handful of tri-state African American area vendors to nab a contract with the NFL/MetLife stadium?host site of the event. McPherson said she used some of the profits from the contract to launch the new club?that’s pays homage to former big band leader and musician Duke Ellington.? ?He was such a classy gentleman and down-to-earth guy,? McPherson said in a recent interview with TNJ.com. ?I wanted to bring jazz and class back to Newark.?

Additional funding for the new jazz supper club came from the Profeta Urban Investment Foundation, which provides guidance and no-interest loans to minority business owners in or around Newark. The organization was launched in 2007 under the administration of former mayor Cory Booker and is headed by Essex (NJ) County real estate mogul Paul Profeta. The philanthropist has donated more than $2.5 million to the small business initiative. The proceeds have helped start nearly a dozen businesses?with about six more slated to launch in the coming months.? Profeta calls McPherson’s new club a sleek and sophisticated hot spot. Duke’s Southern Table is open for lunch and dinner throughout the week and features live jazz music every night.