Jones Bar-B-Q Diner reaches another level of popularity following fire


MARIANNA, Ark. — Going, Going, Gone! That pretty much describes how quickly barbecue is selling at Jones Bar-B-Q in Marianna.

Business has been especially hot since the award-winning eatery reopened after a devastating fire in March. In Fact, Jones’ sold out of “Q” this morning by 9:30.

It’s good news for the owner but bad news for hungry customers.

“I’ve been here, but it’s been years ago,” said, Terry Weatherford who’s travel through.

Weatherford, is from jacksonville arkansas, and is headed to Alabama. He thought he’d stop at Jones Bar-B-Que diner in Marianna on Tuesday for bite to eat.

Turns out he was too late.

“No meat! So, I drove an hour and half out of my way to get a bar-b-que sandwich and I guess I’ll have to go somewhere else,” Weatherford said.

There’s high demand for the seasoned meat from Jones Bar-B-Que, especially since the business reopened after a devastating fire in March. Owner James Jones admits he’s grateful, and says he sold out just two hours after opening.

“I cooked 12 Boston Butts and they went out the window like it wasn’t nothin,” Jones said.

That’s not surprising to long time friend Louis Prater.

“And if he done ran out of meat, he been doing a lot of cooking, a lot of cooking.” Prater said.

A business blessing for James and his wife Betty, but not what hungry customers want to hear.

“Sometime we got to turn them around till the next morning. We’ll tell them to ‘come the next mornin’ early if you want something. You better come early,” Betty Jones said.

Workers are still putting the finishing touches on a new shed covering a new smoker and new pit, made possible through donations which started pouring in after news of the fire hit social media.

“I got one check for $65,000. I got another check for ten, and then folks in the community just giving me checks. County Judge give me a check for $500,” James Jones said.

The fire in March didn’t touch the dining room, with Jones’ many honors, including the coveted James Beard Foundation Award.

But Jones says for now the focus is getting the business fully operational, again.

“We don’t have time for no competition. We just trying to take care of the customers that come through that door,” James Jones said.

Jones Bar-B-Que Diner reopened last week and is considered one of the oldest “Black owned” restaurants in the country.

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