Pembroke's first Super Bowl with sports bar

By Scott Pachilis
Around the Town Editor

Photo by Gabrielle Lover
Students and members of the community go to Mighty J's to support their team for Super Bowl XLV. The local sports bar provided a festive atmosphere for people to watch the game.

UNCP students and community members were finally able to enjoy watching a Super Bowl in a local sports bar and grill on Feb. 6.

This was the first Super Bowl where Pembroke has had a sports bar open for business since the passing of the liquor by the drink law.

Pembroke's Mighty J's opened last October across from the UNCP campus. Jason Kennedy and James Freeman, the owners and former UNCP graduates, say that business has been good.

"We've been really packed during game times," Kennedy said.

Since the beginning of the year, Mighty J's has been able to host sports fans to such treats as NFL playoff games and both NBA and NCAA rivalry games. The latter of which includes the Duke, UNC and NC State rivalries.

Both Freeman and Kennedy said the rivalry increases customers. "Basketball always draws big crowds. But the games where Duke and UNC play each other really bring in a lot of people," they said.

In fact, the first meeting between the two teams is being hyped by Mighty J's, as they will be giving away t-shirts and discounts on beer.

Most bars may only cater to a certain type of crowd, but the food at Mighty J's has been warmly received and adds to the fun and friendly atmosphere.

"We serve families, students and sports fans. So we get multiple types of environments going on. It's a good mix," Freeman said.

Waitress Keesha Hunt agrees about the enviroment. "I love working here. The crowds are fun and the staff and managers really work together."

Mighty J's has also added a variety of new foods to its menu since their opening last fall.

Grill-cooked favorites such as ribs and bratwurst are now staples. The house waffle fries are now seasoned. And cheesecake has been added as a dessert item.

"We figure you can go anywhere in town and get a hotdog. But where else can you get a bratwurst right off the grill?" Freeman explained. "And I'm pretty sure there's only one other place in town where you can get ribs," Kennedy added.

Freeman and Kennedy also estimated that about half of their customers have tried Mighty J's beer and alcohol selections.

During the week before the big game, Mighy J's began taking orders for Super Bowl platters.

It paid off nicely as their wings and kabobs were a big hit, according to Freeman.

The game itself was a success for the bar. "We were packed. There wasn't really anywhere to sit," Freeman said.

The NFL season may be over, but with March Madness right around the corner, you can count on Mighty J's to deliver a first-rate sports bar and grill experience.