Owner and Chef
Chef Derek Emerson (email)
Chef Derek Emerson was born and raised in Beverly Hills, California. He traveled the world with his father, a professional photographer, and was fortunate enough to be exposed to many different types and styles of cuisine. As a child, he spent summers with his grandparents in Mississippi and later moved to Mississippi as a teenager. After getting his feet wet in the kitchens of Brick Oven and BRAVO! restaurant, he attended culinary school in Memphis.

Seeking to further hone his skills, Derek moved to Atlanta and worked at such renowned establishments as Nava, Buckhead Bread Company and Blueridge Grill. He soon accepted the Executive Sous Chef position at Dick & Harry’s. During his time there, Dick & Harry’s was voted “Best New Restaurant” by Atlanta Magazine. ​

After six years in Atlanta, he returned to Mississippi to become Executive Chef at a new restaurant, Schimmel’s. It was at Schimmel’s that Derek met his future wife, Jennifer. The two joined forces to purchase a Jackson landmark, Walker’s Drive-In, in 2001. Pushing the culinary envelope, Derek has been a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award for Best Chef: South. Under Derek’s keen eye, Walker’s Drive-In has become a local favorite recognized in local and national publications.

Jennifer Emerson (email

Jennifer Emerson is a native of Brandon, Mississippi. She has a Bachelors of Arts in English from Belhaven College and attended graduate school at Mississippi College. Throughout high school and college, Jennifer earned extra money by waiting tables at some of Jackson’s finest restaurants.

The restaurant business is in her blood. For forty-five years, her favorite aunt and uncle owned the Belmont Café, a beloved downtown eatery across from the Governor’s Mansion. As a child, she was endlessly entertained by their quirky stories about politicians and patrons. After a three year hiatus in Chattanooga managing The Southside Grill, Jennifer returned to her roots in Jackson. She eventually landed a job as Private Dining Coordinator for Schimmel’s Fine Dining where she met Derek.

They heard from a friend that Walker’s Drive-In was quietly up for sale and the rest is history; they’ve since opened two other restaurants in greater Jackson—Local 463 and CAET Seafood, as well as taking over ownership of Parlor Market in downtown Jackson and the Capitol Club in Capitol Towers, also in downtown Jackson.

Effie Hubanks (email

Effie Hubanks is co-owner of CAET Seafood and Oysterette. Originally from Martin, Tennessee, Effie’s parents moved from Greece in 1969 and went into the restaurant business,  starting with Tony’s Pizza right off the University of Tennessee – Martin campus, where Effie also attended college.

Effie has always worked in restaurants since an early age. When she moved to Jackson, she thought it was for a temporary stay of nine months, so she got a job waiting tables in the Fondren area; after applying to a few different places, she decided on Walker’s Drive-In. She ultimately stayed in Jackson, even moving her parents to the area a decade ago. She’s been working with the Derek and Jennifer Emerson for 18 years, helping to manage all of their restaurants.

Reservations  601-321-9169

Visit our sister restaurants: Walker’s Drive-In and Local 463