Within five minutes of walking into Jason and Beth Brown’s home, you feel like you’re part of the family. The Jupiter couple and their three children—Jordan, 29; Callahan (Cal), 27; and Olivia, 25—greet visitors with an effortless warmth, smiling, laughing, and talking over each other with the obvious affection of a family that enjoy one another’s company.
“I remember growing up, we were the family everyone wanted to be a part of,” says daughter Jordan with a laugh. “My friends were always asking, ‘What is the Brown family up to now?’”
It won’t surprise those old friends to know that the Brown family is up to an awful lot these days. In November 2020, they purchased Ocean Magic Surf Shop, a 35-year-old institution among South Florida’s surf and skate community, and at press time, they were getting ready to open Cactus Grille & Tequila Bar in Donald Ross Village. And those are just their newest ventures. They also ran a local home-care franchise, though they eventually sold it back to the company, and are active in supporting countless local nonprofits.
The family’s entrepreneurial mindset was cultivated early on. In 1990, Jason and Beth met at the Providence, Rhode Island coffee shop Jason owned at the time, where she would stop in to get her daily cup of coffee every day on her way to work. They soon found they had many common interests— including food. “We loved good food,” says Jason.
A year later, they were married—and Beth joined Jason in his business ventures, expanding the café and full-service restaurant, Cactus Grille, that he owned. “I was pregnant with Jordan, and I was building furniture for the restaurant,” Beth recalls. The restaurant thrived, as did the café and the day-care center the couple had also founded.
By 2010, the Browns were looking to make a change. They sold their businesses up north and moved to Jupiter, where Jason worked in telecom, and they purchased the Home Care Assistance franchise. Under Beth’s leadership, the business thrived, and Jordan joined her mom after finishing grad school at Georgetown, managing the company. “I worked in mom’s business for about two weeks,” says Cal, laughing and shaking his head no. Instead, he parlayed his degree in real estate and entrepreneurship from the University of Connecticut into a successful house-flipping business in the northeast.
With the home health care business thriving and his kids all building their careers, Jason began looking for a new venture. That’s when he stumbled upon Ocean Magic Surf Shop. “Ocean Magic has been around for 35 years, it’s in a great location in Jupiter near the beach, and it has this cool vibe and an incredibly loyal customer base,” says Jason. It was a no-brainer: He purchased the local landmark surf shop, and it became the Brown family’s newest business.
Naturally, longtime customers of the local shop were a bit wary of the new ownership. But the Browns quickly won them over. “It was important to us to keep the culture and the integrity of the surf and skate life,” says Jordan. “The improvements we have made are authentic to the brand. The swimsuit collection has expanded, and we carry some new brands like Vans.” Jordan says she is also committed to learning how to surf: “It’s on my list of things to do!”
While Jordan was getting her feet wet in the surf-retail business, Jason set his sights on an empty restaurant site in Donald Ross Village. “The location is beautiful,” he says of the space formerly occupied by Burger Bar. He envisioned an upscale California Mexican restaurant. “We started talking to the property owners. They’re a family business, and we’re a family business.” In May, Jason signed the lease, putting the Browns back in the restaurant business, where it all began.
Jordan and Olivia worked together on the design of the restaurant. “We wanted a Baja California/Southwest sunset decor with a welcoming atmosphere and great food, music, and fun,” says Olivia. The Browns hired Billy Rosenberg, an executive chef from New York, and told him to get creative with the menu. This new venture even drew in Callahan, who returned to Florida from Connecticut to work with vendors on ordering and operations.
Cactus Grille & Tequila Bar features Tex-Mex cuisine and utilizes a number of family recipes from its namesake restaurant in Rhode Island, as well as some new dishes. The restaurant also features a rotation of margaritas, tequila flights, and a signature Great Cactus drink.
While the family has enjoyed success in the restaurant business, they are keenly aware that food is a luxury that many families struggle to provide. “We got involved with No Kid Hungry back in Rhode Island,” says Beth of the charity that is dedicated to ending childhood hunger in the United States. “When we moved to Jupiter, we were happy to see we could continue our support locally.” The family helps raise funds for the charity personally and is eager to get involved through their new restaurant as well. “Providing a meal is such low cost, why wouldn’t you want to help?” says Jordan.
The Browns support numerous local causes, including Networking to Help Children, the AustinBlu Foundation, Big Dog Ranch Rescue, and the Center for Family Services. Jordan has extended the family’s commitment to families in need through her committee work with Place of Hope. The family also hosts fundraisers in their home, bringing in chefs to prepare dinners to raise money for charities such as The Pap Corps, which funds cancer research. “We like to surround ourselves with generous people,” says Beth.
When asked what’s next for the Brown family, Jason stays mum but reveals a smile that makes you wonder, What’s the Brown family up to now?