Joshua Gentry began his career in the restaurant industry at the early age of 14, where he quickly developed a passion for food and southern hospitality. Originally working as a dishwasher, he gained a working knowledge over the years of every position in the restaurant, from the back line kitchen to the dining room.
Quickly garnering the respect from many local Birmingham Chefs, Gentry began working at Chris Hastings' restaurant, Hot & Hot Fish Club. Here he gained a profound knowledge of Southern cuisine and overall culinary expertise.
In 2003 Gentry partnered with Birmingham restauranteur Nick Pihakis and became an Operating Partner in Jim 'n Nick's Community Bar-B-Q. For more than ten years Gentry supervised the Jim 'n Nick's Birmingham market. During this time he learned the tricks to preparing food that was true to authentic Southern culture. The key was to provide a top notch experience for the guest by serving traditional Southern food made entirely from scratch, using only the freshest ingredients.
The passion soon evolved into the idea of a concept serving authentic Mexican food with "Southern soul". Gentry worked with Pihakis and his other partners at Fresh Hospitality and began researching authentic Mexican street food. The two were inspired by San Francisco's La Cocina, a non-profit incubutator kitchen that helps low income and mostly Hispanic food vendors launch and grow their businesses. Here they learned about the style and culture behind Mexican food, and realized this culture could be merged with that of Southern food. After five years of research and development, Gentry and Pihakis opened the first Little Donkey in Homewood, Alabama in April 2012.
Inspired by Little Donkey's success in Homewood, Gentry and his partners at Fresh Hospitality expanded the concept to Morgantown, West Virginia in October 2015. Then in February 2016 they opened their third location in Nashville, Tennessee.
Gentry is also personally and professionally committed to giving back to his local communities. The Little Donkey in Homewood is a proud supporter of The Bell Center, The Homewood City Schools Foundation, and many others. His commitment to partnering with local organizations has gained the respect of the Homewood community, and in turn, the "neighborhood atmosphere" is felt in the dining room at Little Donkey.
Gentry lives in Homewood, Alabama with his wife Julie and their two children.