Four years ago, The Junction at Monroe was primarily a warehouse for Russ Pangratz and his band to rehearse for their concerts.
He and his band realized how much potential the building had, so they began to invite other musicians to play there as well. Later, they invited an audience and hosted Open Mic Night events at the venue, located at 2011 South Monroe St., just east of FAMU’s campus.
Pangratz calls it an accident that the Junction at Monroe was born. What used to be just a warehouse is now nicknamed “the best sounding room on the planet.”
For years, J@M has been providing a safe haven for local musicians to show off their skills. Pangratz takes pride in targeting an audience of music lovers who are young and old.
“This is not a rowdy place. The people who come here are coming for the quality of what is happening on the stage,” Pangratz said.
But what is a late night hangout spot without food and drinks? The junction at Monroe is also known for its restaurant, Sloppy’s.
They serve a variety of dishes such as their gourmet sloppy Joe’s, barbecue, tacos and burgers. Pangratz is also the mastermind behind all of the recopies. He created the three main sauces and named every item on the menu after well known musicians and musical terms.
Jeremiah Anilus is a fan of the Sloppy Joe burger. He attended a comedy event earlier in the month and tried Sloppy’s food. Although he has tasted this particular dish at other restaurants, he said the Junction’s burger is his favorite.
“It was awesome! I haven’t tasted anything like it! The alcoholic beverages were a nice touch as well,” Anilus said.
Jocelyn “Joy” Exantus worked firsthand with the Junction when she recently planned her company party for Benchmark Real Estate. She has worked with student housing for six years and when she was asked to complete this task, the Junction was the first place she thought of.
“The Junction was very welcoming to my team and me. That meant a lot because we have been to places that haven’t been so welcoming,” Exantus said.
The Junction at Monroe is Pangratz’s baby. He is the founder, owner and, especially, a music lover. He wants to make people more aware of his business and the talents of local musicians by adding live outdoor music. He also plans to expand his business by utilizing the backyard of the Junction for festivals and concerts.
Pangratz is a south side city activist who hopes to prove that the town isn’t as bad as it is sometimes portrayed. The Junction has hosted many fundraisers and has worked with organizations such as the Eastpoint Fire Victims and the American Cancer Society.
The Junction at Monroe is open to anyone who loves music.