The Hostess with The Mostest. Meet Jodi Johnson of The Cub Room

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Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I am the owner and general manager of The Cub Room. I work along side my husband, executive chef Greg Johnson. But first, I am a mom of two amazing girls, they are my drive! I am a Rochester native who moved to NYC at age 18 and lived there for over twenty years. I moved back four years ago with my husband and daughters to open our restaurant. We were intrigued about what was going on here in the restaurant business, and ready to slow things down in our lives  (a little) and move here. We brought our experience from Manhattan restaurants to the ROC and have never looked back.

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I am here daily and have been since get go. I designed the interior, which is a love and passion, it lets me be creative! I am here managing staff, taking reservations, doing all the marketing and planning events. This is my love, my third baby and a passion that has come true.

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What did you want to be when you were a child?
When I was a little girl I wanted to be a model. I think it was a combination of always being tall and lanky and always having an innate love for NYC in my bones. My Mom could never explain it but I talked about living in NYC since I was 5. I actually got to be that model in NYC and I wouldn’t change a thing, it led me to this business: events and marketing. I met and worked with some wonderfully interesting people.

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How did you get started your line of work? What were some of the difficulties you faced in starting?
I started bartending in New York after I had my fill in the fashion world; I worked in some impressive places and really had a knack for party planning and meeting people. 

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As far as wanting to do my own place, I had that goal for a while, but always felt I had no way to do it on my own. I felt as if, it was impossible, I was not rich, where would I get the funding, almost a “what makes me so special” attitude, it just seemed out of my reach.


Lettering by Andrea Burke, check out more of her work HERE

In moments of self-doubt, hardships or failure, how do you build yourself back up?
There are moments of all of these still. I just remember what one person in the business world from Rochester told me “Keep your head down, keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t pay attention to all the noise. It is special, your place.” Those words ring over and over in my head. Keeping a positive outlook is of utmost importance, the minute you let your self go “there” to negativity it’s a dangerous place. Smile, be present and be grateful for where you are at.

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What is your best advice to someone just starting out? What advice do you wish someone had said to you?
Never give up on yourself if it is something you feel in your soul, something you believe in, push and never stop. Be open to opportunity. Your passion is your truth. Things don’t necessarily happen the way you expect, keep going.

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How do you find balance? What inspires you?
Finding balance can be tricky. My daughters and my husband are the first thing that keeps me balanced. They are what makes me realize no matter what happens daily, they are what life is all about. The kids inspire me to be the best me I can. 

Inspiration is all around me, music at The Cub Room is such a part of the whole concept. Art inspires me. Whether it’s music or a painting, or a piece of furniture I like, it gets my brain going and asking "how can I apply this to my work, an event, another restaurant..."

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What is your favorite part of what you do?
My favorite part of what I do is the people, the guests, my staff, the purveyors, wine reps - all the different people I get to meet daily. It’s a privilege.

What do you find most challenging?
This business is by far not for the faint of heart. It’s tumultuous, how do you keep them coming back? Will they come back? Are we keeping things exciting? Just a daily worry...

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Name some local creatives that you really admire.
I really admire so many! I'm again privileged to have worked with, and met some great people!
Stacy Ercan of Stacy K Floral - having worked with her from our beginning and seeing her business grow is inspiring.
Tommy Brunett of Iron Smoke Whiskey - a creative, sweet gentleman. He has been a great collaborator. 
Joan Lincoln from Panache - such a great career! Her determination is awesome.
Molly Flaherty from M/Body is a killer! She is out there making it happen everyday.
Lucinda Storms is an amazing artist, jewelry maker, someone I have collaborated with on marketing posters for our events.

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