The Oink Joint Barbecue opens its doors at its new location in LaGrange

Published 9:31 am Wednesday, November 15, 2023

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After a year of anticipation, The Oink Joint Barbecue recently opened its new location in LaGrange, welcoming new and old customers. 

With two other locations in Newnan and Zebulon and 13 years of experience under his belt, owner Matt Crawford wanted to expand his successful business by opening a third chain after receiving several recommendations from the community.

“So we’ve been looking around LaGrange for a few years now, trying to figure out the best place and location to set up and seeing that there was not much barbecue in the area was a big drive for us as well,” Crawford said. “It’s kind of our niche to find places, cities, and counties that don’t have a lot of barbecue to offer, and we’ve already had a lot of support just in the little time that we’ve opened our doors.”

Crawford’s extensive knowledge of the barbecue business began long before he became a restaurant owner when he was just a college student working under the original owners of The Oink Joint Barbecue in Zebulon. He learned the ropes of the business, eventually branching the restaurant out across Georgia.

“So I actually started working for The Oink Joint back in 2010 about 13 years ago,” Crawford said. “There was another family that owned it and gave me a job while I went to college, but then when I got out of school, I still wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do, so I kind of managed the restaurant for a while.” 

After managing the original Oink Joint location, Crawford decided to open up his own location in Newnan, ushering more success to come.

“After about five years of managing The Oink Joint, my wife and I wanted open to one in Newnan,” Crawford said. “Then back in 2021 of October, we purchased the original location in Zebulon and took that one over.”

Amid Crawford’s success with his two locations, in a twist of unfortunate events, Crawford ran into trouble when The Oink Joint Zebulon location was burned to the ground in an incident last year. 

“We actually had a fire in May of 2022, and we lost everything in Zebulon, so we spent the next nine months building it back up,” Crawford said. “Once we finished that rebuilding in February, we started working on the location in LaGrange because we had a passion for food and I love to be able to feed people.”

Though Crawford has faced rough times in the past with his business, that has never stopped him from helping to support his community. From providing jobs to helping to support schools, Crawford has garnered a lot of trust from the people of Newnan, Zebulon, and now LaGrange.

“After the fire, we definitely had to assess what we wanted to do moving forward, but Zebulon gave us a lot of support and a lot of people were reaching out to make sure that we were still planning on coming back and told us to let them know if we needed anything,” Crawford said. “They were there to help, and it just reassured my wife and me of where we wanted to be, and it continued to drive us to our goals.” 

Currently, Crawford is still preparing his LaGrange location for the journey ahead by hiring new workers to help with running the restaurant. He hopes to continually grow the new location with the community in mind.

“Our big thing is just being part of the community and part of supporting locals is finding local people that we can give jobs and help the local schools,” Crawford said. “You can’t always do everything, but you can help others one at a time.”

“We just hope to grow and reach as many people as we can in the community.”