By Solomon Crenshaw Jr.
For The Birmingham Times
Tremayne and Karen Thompson met while singing in a church choir in their native Gary, Ind.
“We just sang together,” Karen recalled. “I think the sparks came later. I never looked at him as somebody that I would marry but from working and ministering together we became really good friends.”
That friendship yielded a marriage and a business relationship. And while neither is a musician, their latest business venture provides a place where patrons can enjoy the harmonious blend of food and music.
Welcome to Perfect Note, the restaurant that opened in April in the former Piccadilly’s location in Hoover’s Riverchase area.
The 14,000-square foot establishment seats 180 seats in the main dining area and 30 in the bar area. There are plans to add a banquet room for 85 and a VIP executive lounge for 45 to 55.
Open Wednesday through Sunday, the restaurant’s dining menu includes its signature chicken and waffles. The musical menu features national and international artists on Friday and Saturday nights, with independent and regional performers on other nights.
The couple always wanted to own a restaurant and music has remained a passion of the two.
“We started this when we lived up north,” Karen said. “We started with doing church concerts and things like that. When we moved this way, we wanted to do something for the people here and we started with jazz. The opportunity presented itself for us to have our own place.”
The couple formed TK Productions – taken from initials of their first names – and initially produced tours and gospel promotions.
“Jazz kind of came into the mix,” she said, “and we’ve been flying ever since.”
After moving to the Birmingham area, the Thompsons produced once-a-month shows at Bessemer’s Watermark Place. They grew out of that space in 2½ years after attracting a number of national and international jazz artists including Najee, Brian Culbertson and Rick Braun.
Tremayne Thompson said Perfect Note is different from most jazz clubs but shares some similarities with renowned establishments like New York’s Blue Note, California’s Spaghettini Grill and Jazz Club and Blues Alley in Washington, D.C.
“What makes us a little different is we do all music, different genres of music,” he said. “We do blues, old school R&B and gospel, along with jazz. When we were able to open Perfect Note, we were able to introduce more genres of music.”
The restaurant is developing a following beyond state borders, Karen said.
“We have customers that come from out of town,” she said. “We had a lady from Detroit. We had a man fly in from Tampa and another drove from New Orleans. If it’s something that they like, they’re coming.”
Jazz guitarist Nick Colionne appeared last week while the Eric Essix MOVE Trio is set for Friday and Saturday. Other acts scheduled are Eric Darius (Aug. 19); Isaac Byrd Jr. (Aug. 26-27); P.J. Spraggins (Sept. 2); Jackiem Joyner (Sept. 3); Frank McComb (Sept. 9-10); Eric Nolan (Sept. 16-17) and Darryl Evans Jones (Sept. 23-24).