Jay Nix bought Parkway in 1995 from the original family and has been the owner ever since.
When you look at the restaurant— and this goes for any restaurant, especially for this one— the customer’s looking at a fine watch. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s only got like three hands on it. It’s got a little hand, a big hand, and maybe a swift hand. And it’s a beautiful thing, but it’s so simple, really nothing to it.
You take that fine watch and you pop the back off, and that’s the restaurant business. You see all that stuff going on, synchronized in beautiful order. Then you have all those jewels in there too: that’s your employees, all those jewels. That’s all of us. Really that’s—. The customer sees it as, “Man, they make a lot of sandwiches there.” But they don’t look in the back of that watch. That’s the real deal.
Born in New Orleans in 1951 to Dr. and Mrs. James T. Nix, Jr., he grew up in an environment that stressed the value of an education. He attended Mater Dolorosa Grammar School, Christian Brothers, and graduated from St. Paul’s Catholic High School in 1969. He also attended Nicholls State University, Loyola University, and Northwestern University.
Fulfilling His Destiny
Through most of his young adulthood, Jay worked in the automotive industry and preformed real estate repairs throughout the city. He developed his skills as a problem solver, and this experience took him to next level in 1976: selling and managing residential and investment property. After a time, he was hired by a property management firm to assist in repairs of over 500 properties. The firm closed, giving him the opportunity to grow his part time business into a full time business called Jay Nix Real Estate Repairs.
What started as a one man, one truck, repair company grew into a full service construction company with more than 10 employees. After many years in the construction business, he bought a closed and run down corner sandwich shop called Parkway Bakery and Tavern in 1995.
Basically the customers asked me, “What are you going to do with it?” I said, “I’m not quite sure.” They said, “Well, we know what you’re going to do with it. You’re going to open the darn thing.” So ten years later I got the guts, the time, and the money and opened it, and it’s been a wild success.
In 2003, Jay restored the architecturally significant building and reopened it to the public’s delight. He went from cutting two 2×4 boards to cutting 32 inch French bread loaves overnight.