Thornton’s restaurant is a staple on Hamilton Road

Published 10:00 am Friday, February 10, 2023

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EDITOR’S NOTE: In recognition of Black History Month, the LaGrange Daily News is writing features on Black-owned businesses.

As the saying goes, there is nothing stronger than man’s love for food and his mother. For Rodney Thornton, owner of JBo’s BBQ and More, that saying couldn’t have proven more true.

“My mom, Charlie Mae Thornton, and I started the business back in 2008 as a food truck,” Thornton said. “Growing up, she and I always cooked together. I liked cooking because she loved it — now as an adult, it’s easier because I’d remember all the stuff she used to tell me.”

When deciding to branch out from his beloved food truck and into a location on Hamilton Road, Thornton said wanted to preserve a piece of history and make something impactful from it.

“I thought it’d be a nice thing to keep a part of history where many in town grew up. It was the only building left, and I thought it’d be great to set up next to the barber shop and cook on the main road,” Thornton said. “I get a lot of people who grew up here come in and are excited to see the restaurant.”

JBo’s BBQ and More offers soul food staples such as collard greens, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, coleslaw, barbecue chicken, ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, and even breakfast options. Through his business, Thornton works back to the community by helping feed those going through hard times.

“Back in September, a friend of mine called me and said let’s start feeding the community. I had to take some time to think on it and pray about it before I decided to do it,” Thornton said. “From then on, every Tuesday I close down at three and prepare meals for those who need them the most. We started off doing 30 plates and every week from there we got more and more.”

Thornton said giving back to the community felt rewarding.

“You can’t determine who’s homeless or less fortunate, so we just try to do what we can to help someone,” Thornton said.

In his 20 years of cooking, Thornton said the best part of it has been the ability to make someone else smile and continue his mother’s passion for helping those in need. JBo’s BBQ and More is located at 208 Hamilton Rd. and is open Tuesdays from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Wednesdays — Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.