'It was a blessing in disguise': Jones' Bar-B-Q Diner's road to reopening after fire
Jones Bar-B-Q diner owner, James Jones said without the support from people around the world, he wouldn't have been able to reopen his restaurant so quickly.{ }{p}{/p}{p}(Photo: KATV){/p}

One of Arkansas' most historic restaurants, Jones Bar-B-Q Diner in Marianna, was almost destroyed by a fire in late February.  But thanks to donations from the community, Owner James Jones was able to reopen last week. 

 The famous barbecue restaurant is considered one of the oldest Black-owned restaurants in the country. Jones said his family’s business has been in existence for nearly 110 years and he couldn’t believe the amount of support he received shortly after the fire.

"What we had said all along after it burned was that it was a blessing in disguise because everything we got we're coming back with is new," Jones said.

The restaurant is better than ever and business has reached new levels, according to Jones. He said customers were waiting outside of his diner nearly an hour before he reopened.

"To tell you the truth, they was steady calling me when I wasn't open, wanting to know when was I going to open," he said.

Jones reopened Thursday but by Monday he had to close again because they ran out of food. 

In late February, about 70 percent of the building was destroyed after a fire started in the barbecue pit and nearly entered the kitchen. However, through a GoFundMe page, Jones said thousands of dollars were raised from people across the world.

"There's a lady named Mimi, she wrote me a check for $65,000 herself and put it in my hand,” Jones said.

Brett Hartman said he lives in Forrest City but he works in Marianna. He said the community’s heart was broken after the fire. He said is thrilled to once again enjoy his favorite meal that he orders twice a week.

"I'm ready, I’m really excited and looking forward to it,” Hartman said. “I was looking forward to it today, but I got hung up in the field and didn't get in town quite quick enough to take advantage of it. I bet I'll be here tomorrow on time.”

Jones said he enjoys serving the community with his barbecue.

"Apparently, it means a whole lot more to folks than we thought because of that fact of what they did,” Jones said.

He said he's thankful the same community he serves showed him the same gratitude when he needed it most.

"You just never know just what people be thinking, and how they be thinking until something like that happens. But that money came in like gangbusters.” Jones said.

Jones said he will be reopened on Tuesday at 7 a.m. He said his restaurant should be fully repaired by next month.

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