When Cody Cox opens his small-batch pie shop this month, Urban Foxes, he will have fulfilled a dream more than 10 years in the making.
Urban Foxes will serve variations of decadent pies, coffees and teas, marrying Cox’s love for small-batch baking and live music in a cozy family atmosphere.
A resident of Fondren in Jackson, Cox’s vision is as much about community as it is about satisfying a sweet tooth or caffeine jolt.
“I hope to offer a place that will make someone’s day just a little bit better every time they stop by, whether that be for your morning coffee and breakfast pastry, an afternoon slice of pie, or maybe a post-work beer and grilled cheese,” he says. “We want to grow with our neighborhood and get people out and about on the Jackson sidewalks enjoying our city.”
In selecting a location for the pie house, he and wife Molly West wanted something near downtown, yet close to a residential area. The spot their realtor found, at 826 North Street, just 2.5 miles from their home, fit the bill.
Having previously lived in Belhaven Heights for a while, they believe the site, a house built in the 1930s, will offer the homey, neighborhood vibe they crave, along with the foot traffic they need.
“We also wanted to renovate an existing property that needed some love,” he explains, adding that the area is “ripe and eager for growth. It’s a friendly neighborhood with a lot of beautiful southern charm.”
The location and its backyard will also allow Cox to offer a slightly different take on things, like movie nights of indie films and cult classics, as well as small intimate concerts.
Having spent the last several years as general manager of Cups Espresso Cafe, a local coffee house, the Lexington, Miss. native, whose mother made the pie crusts for his grandmother’s diner while he was growing up, has “small-town small-batch” baking in his bones.
It should come as no surprise, then, that he will be a hands-on owner as head baker.
“I will be doing all the baking for the foreseeable future, as well as handling the day-to-day stuff,” he explains. “Booking events and things of that nature.” While West has her day job at a local hospital, she will pitch in when she can, as her presence is “incredibly important to the smoothness of things.”
As he prepares for the grand opening, Cox is busy in his “test kitchen,” baking up traditional pies like blueberry, cherry, and strawberry-rhubarb crumble, as well as some of his own creative experiments, like bacon-cheddar scones, vegan-pumpkin muffins with vanilla glaze, apple custard with almond and oat-crumble topping, and chocolate-chip marshmallow s’mores.
Readying the 90-year-old home for its new incarnation has also been exciting, yet tedious, he says, especially with the rain this spring. With the help of a local contractor and friend, they have put a lot of sweat into the building. Though happy with its renovations thus far, Cox plans on making continual improvements and additions after the opening.
The pie shop will likely start with five or six employees, with room to maybe add a barista down the road. Fortunately, being a business owner is not a new venture for Cox, as he also owns Elegant Trainwreck Productions, a record label/production company.
“Most things I knew about the food industry since I spent over a decade working cafes and running Cups in Fondren,” he says. “I have learned more about zoning and city planning structures than I knew before for sure though. It’s been pretty smooth sailing with the city so far. Most of the hiccups along have been out of anyone’s control. Most everyone has been very helpful at the city. I have been very fortunate.”
Though he admits borrowing money can be scary, they were able to raise capital thanks to investors whose generosity was crucial, and a bank loan.
The head baker says his greatest challenge through this process has been learning to be patient and understanding that things will happen when they’re supposed to. “It’s one of those things that I already know, but this process has been a constant reminder, ” he says.
“I believe in Jackson and want to watch it succeed like I know it can,” Cox says. “There is so much culture here that I want to be a small piece of fabric in that.”
Urban Foxes will open May 20. Hours will be from 7 a.m until 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. For more information, follow them on Instagram at @urbanfoxesjxn.