Sixty-six-year-old Jacksonville based Bono’s Pit Bar-B-Q’s fast-casual sister concept, Willie Jewell’s Old School Bar-B-Q is poised for expansion. Willie Jewell’s has signed two more franchisees set to open later this fall in Augusta, Georgia, and St. Augustine, Florida. These will be the fourth and fifth restaurants in the growing concept, which will now have locations in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. In addition, multiunit deals are being consummated with groups for the Florida panhandle, Atlana, and Manchester, New Hampshire, areas.
Willie Jewell’s Old School Bar-B-Q was created by Joe Adeeb and Josh Martino, CEO and president, respectively, of Bono’s and Willie Jewell’s. The fast casual has a smaller footprint and a less expensive check average but will still smoke all of its barbecue the old-fashioned way The “low and slow” method that has made Bono’s a Jacksonville favorite since 1949 and now Willie Jewell’s since 2009. Adeeb and Martino were looking for an opportunity to enter the rapidly growing fast-casual market as well as a less expensive franchise package for potential franchisees and area developers.
It turns out that Willie Jewell Daniels was a real person and someone that made a big impact in Adeeb’s life. Adeeb’s grandfather rescued Daniels from the streets of Jacksonville when she was only a teen. She went to work in their family restaurant and quickly proved that she could cook almost anything. Adeeb attributes 95 percent of his cooking knowledge to Willie Jewell and says, “Not only was Willie Jewell an incredible cook, she was an incredible person.” He cherishes the things that she taught him about cooking, but more importantly the things she taught him about life.
Bono’s recently opened its 20th location on the westside of Jacksonville in August.