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Jimmy Rogers, Fatz and Copper River Grill founder, passionate Clemson fan, dies

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Friday, December 13, 2013

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Jimmy Rogers, founder of Fatz Cafe and Copper River Grill, among other restaurant chains, died of liver cancer Wednesday at his Inman home.

Jimmy Rogers, founder of Fatz Cafe and Copper River Grill, among other restaurant chains, died of liver cancer Wednesday at his Inman home.

Jimmy Rogers, founder of Fatz Café, Copper River Grill and J Jr.’s restaurant chains died of liver cancer at his home Wednesday. Rogers was 66.

Rogers of Inman, grew up in Holly Springs, living in his family’s original home.

He was a devoted Clemson Tigers fan and enjoyed tailgating and traveling to away games. Rogers delivered Mobile Meals in his community and he contributed to untold charities and local events.

Rogers backed the upstate’s 2008 premier of “The Leatherheads”, a movie filmed partly in downtown Greer and starring George Clooney and Rene Zellweger.

Rogers and business partner Bill Burton founded Fatz Café, a casual-dining concept, in 1988. The first restaurant was built from a peach shed at the entrance to Waccamaw Shopping Center in Spartanburg. In 1993 Rogers sold Burton his 50 percent of Fatz Café Enterprises and five years later sold the remaining shares of Fatz, J Jr’s and Hambones.

Rogers opened his first Copper River Grill in 2003 and it has grown into eight restaurants in the Carolinas and Kentucky. Copper River Grill has a restaurant in Greer on Wade Hampton Blvd.

Rogers, semi-retired at the time, was on a trip to Alaska when he was watching the king salmon being harvested from the Cooper River. The name stuck and Rogers opened his signature Copper River Grill in Seneca.

Services for Rogers will be Sunday at Holly Springs Baptist Church at 2 p.m. Visitation will follow in the church family life center.

Read Rogers’ obituary here.

 

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