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What's Up Magazine

Amanda Bramble, 30, Owner, Jimmie & Sook’s Raw Bar and Grill

Jan 06, 2011 01:08AM ● By Anonymous

Amanda Bramble’s early years gave no indication that she would one day own a successful seafood restaurant in Cambridge, a town she calls “the heart of Chesapeake country.” Bramble grew up on the banks of the Choptank River in a family of watermen. She admittedly hates to cook—a strange confession for a restaurant owner—and couldn’t wait to leave the Eastern Shore after finishing high school. And leave she did, attending college in southern Maryland and majoring in biology with a plan to enter the medical field. Bramble then bounced around the country, ending up in Florida until hurricanes forced her to return home. She never left again. “I fell back in love with my town, with my downtown, and unexpectedly found my next move in the last place I had thought to look,” she says. Bramble realized in her mid-20s that her real dream was to open a restaurant, one that would revitalize Cambridge’s community pride and teach tourists about crabbing, the Bay, and the people who work on its waters. Bramble did give nursing school a two-month tryout, but soon knew she had to find a way to make her restaurant dream a reality. However, the country’s crumbling economy during early 2009 wasn’t exactly conducive to opening Jimmie and Sook’s (named for the crabs on which Cambridge’s main industry was built. At the time, Bramble had no money and no business training. The community stepped in, answering her questions, building the bar, painting the walls, giving Bramble the support—and the money—she needed. “I should have had obstacles,” Bramble says. “I opened up the moment our economy crashed, and yet my community surrounded me and provided with a path.” These days, Jimmie & Sook’s fills up quickly for lunch on a weekday. By 12:30 p.m., there might be a wait for a table. In the center of it all, Bramble flits around—stirring a large stockpot of cream of crab soup, and then sitting down with a customer—who has likely become a friend—at a table in the center of the restaurant. Bramble might not be a cook, but she knows good food and good service, both key to making a restaurant successful. From here on out, Bramble is committed to repaying the community for everything they did for her. “I see the restaurant being a part of a revitalized downtown,” she says, “Full of rejuvenated energy that has already begun. I want Cambridge to succeed. I will do whatever I can to see that happen.”

-Kelsey Collins