Rockford Chef and 15th & Chris Owner, James Purifoy, Gets National Recognition From CNN
He probably won't remember this story, but the first time I met James Purifoy, owner of 15th & Chris, it was one of my most memorable meetings in Rockford.
It was happy hour at RBI and I was having dinner and drinks with a friend when this random guy leans over and asks if he can have some of my food. I'm thinking to myself, "who is this guy?"
He was funny and real smooth about it too; so much so that I was happy to oblige and ended up offering him some of my pork and pineapple tacos. Turns out he was "just playin'," but he's so dang nice, funny and down to earth, it's hard to not want to share your food with him.
Little did I know, at the time, that he's the one who really loves to share his food with us. It took about 20 minutes before it came up in conversation that he was the owner of 15th & Chris.
Shamefully, I admitted that I'd never been there but dropped Steve Shannon's name and let him know that we've talked about his burgers quite a bit on the show.
Now, a year later, he's gone from the talk of Rockford to the talk of the nation.
Purifoy was recently featured on CNN's "My American Success Story," where he credits his 10 years in prison for his success.
After opening 15th & Chris back in 2014, he's basically become a Rockford celebrity and people come from all over to eat his specialty burgers with names as unique as the toppings he uses to make his creations. Even someone from my home state of Minnesota made the trip, making me feel just a little embarrassed that I haven't been there yet.
Looks like I'll have to make the trip as soon as they're open for the season.
Would you like to read more from CNN on James' story? Click here