By Shanderia K. Posey
By Oct. 29, Jackson will have a new location for upscale, classy entertainment and dining.
Next Level Experience, located in the upper level of Metrocenter Mall, will open offering “good food in a safe, secure environment and top-knotch entertainment,” said Socrates Garrett, a member of the development team that brought Next Level to Jackson. Garrett, along with fellow African-American business leaders in Jackson, Leroy Walker and Howard Catchings, are the owners of Retro Metro. Retro Metro has owned the space in the mall where Next Level is located since 2012. Next Level Experience includes Eme’s Restaurant, which offers Carribean cuisine; Soul Sensation Lounge, an entertainment hall, banquet hall and a piano bar.
“Next Level is designed to give residents of South Jackson and West Jackson a venue they’ve never had before,” Garrett said. “It will be a catalyst in revitalization for South Jackson.” Hours of operation will be 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. depending on the day of the week. The family friendly venue will feature Sunday brunches and afternoon/evening events for mature adults. The restaurant can seat more than 200 diners and more than 400 can occupy the banquet hall. “Our goal has always been to bring South Jackson back and create generators – reasons to bring people back to the area,” Walker said. “South Jackson and West Jackson are growing, and we want to capitalize on that.”
As business leaders, Walker said, they saw that Jackson had an appetite for a venue such as Next Level. Now, residents won’t have to venture outside of Jackson to Rankin and Madison counties to enjoy a nice meal in this type of environment. But beyond the meals and entertainment, the real important part of Next Level coming to Jackson is the economic impact. Seventy-seven people will get new jobs. “African Americans working for the betterment of the community is critical to reduce crime, reduce unemployment and increase the tax base,” said Walker, who emphasized that Retro Metro members don’t mind using their private dollars to invest in the city.
Construction and remodeling work are still underway until Next Level officially opens, but some private affairs are being held at the location. A birthday party for Garrett was held Oct. 8. More than 400 people came out to celebrate and get a sneak peek of the venue. “It was very, very nice and well-received,” said Walker, who hopes Next Level will cause other private entities to invest in the city as well as cause the community to become engaged.
For more information visit ww.nextleveljxn.com.