A barbecue restaurant nestled in the Mississippi Delta is believed to be the oldest black-owned business in the country.
According to BlackBusiness.Org, Jones Bar-B-Q Diner in Marianna, Arkansas, is owned and operated by 65-year-old James Jones and his wife of 40 years, Betty. James’ grandfather, Walter Jones, opened the restaurant in 1910 with just a “a hole in the ground, some iron pipes and a piece of fence wire and two pieces of tin.”
Walter Jones' restaurant later expanded into a small two-table restaurant. It only serves one dish, pork shoulder, but that didn’t stop it from being honored by the James Beard Foundation, the Oscars of the food industry, in 2012. The foundation was impressed by the diner’s “timeless appeal” and food "that reflects the character of their community."
Jones Bar-B-Q is open six days a week at 6 am. Their famous pork shoulders sit in a smoker for 12 hours and they smoke meat 24/7.
Mark Smith, a customer who has eaten at the restaurant for forty years, sees the restaurant as a unifying force in their small community.
“It pulls people together. You can share a meal together [with] your friends. No matter [if] they’re white, black, yellow, green, any page. Everyone likes barbecue here,” Smith said.
Check out this CBS segment and try not to get hungry as you watch: