Justin Pickering has spent nearly two decades honing his skills in the restaurant and service industries. His early beginnings in fine dining inspired his first business Just In Time to Wine or Dine. The venture took him to both Chicago and Malibu where he continued to build his extensive culinary and wine resume. Making his way back home years later, Justin established a coffee house in the Central West End, managed all aspects of a successful neighborhood bar on Washington Ave, and eventually oversaw every detail from building construction to the to the development of the craft-cocktail menu at an Edwardsville fine dining restaurant. Justin brings a breadth of knowledge, experience and humbleness into each and every opportunity that comes his way. His passion for creating welcoming establishments and his dream to one day own his own are what brought him back to the abandoned remains of one of his own old hangouts, the Judy Inn.
When the opportunity to revitalize the Judy Inn came his way, Justin couldn’t pass it up for consideration. Over the years, he had spent many nights enjoying drinks and eclectic conversations with friends, and the memories of those times came flooding back as soon as he stepped in to the old building. Justin knew it would take a considerable amount of everything to get the building into shape and the business up and running. He also knew he had the right heart, desire and dedication to respectfully create an establishment where an icon to so many had previously been in business for years.
In March of 2015, Justin, his dad Scott Pickering, along with a host of friends and family began planning, cleaning up and tearing out; it quickly became apparent structural, electrical and plumbing improvements would need to be made if a respectable business was going to operate in the space. Challenges soon became opportunities, and the vision of a quality customer experience was becoming increasingly clear. When Justin wasn’t working late into the night, he spent his time researching local history. He too had heard stories about who “Judy” was, and why someone would name an Inn after her, and it was important to Justin to maintain a level of respect to Judy throughout the project. Through his research, Justin became knowledgeable about the first permanent settler of Madison County, Col. Samuel Judy, for which both Judy Creek and the Judy Inn had been named.
Around the time of Justin’s discovery of Judy, he started to understand he was no longer refurbishing what was, but creating what is. Peeling back six layers of flooring to expose original hard wood, upcycling reclaimed wood to create paneling for new walls, and the addition of new bathrooms started to give the place a revitalized spirit, yet maintain the old saloon feel. Certain features of the bar kept bringing Justin back to memories of trips to the old family cabin with his Grandpa and Uncle Tim. And that is when The Cabin at Judy Creek was born.