Smokin’ Business: BBQ restaurant gets plenty of support

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 10, 2004

When Jacky and Pam Poole picked a name for their new barbecue restaurant on U.S. Highway 80 West, the first word was meant to describe perfectly cooked meat.

They didn’t know “Smokin'” would come to symbolize their business for the first three weeks.

Smokin’ Jacks, which opened Jan. 19, has apparently smoked the mouths of more people than Jacky or Pam ever expected. For starters, they didn’t know people would park along a major U.S. highway to get a taste of the food.

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“We haven’t had a slow moment yet,” Pam Poole said. “The people in this town have been incredible. It’s more than we could have ever imagined.”

When Pam Poole says she and her husband haven’t had a slow moment yet, they mean it. In an effort to thank the citizens of Demopolis and surrounding areas, neither Jacky nor Pam had time to sit down for a face-to-face interview.

“We just want to make sure we thank the people of this community,” Pam said.

While patrons to the store have displayed an enormous amount of “patience” for a restaurant that has only been open three weeks, Pam Poole said the most exciting experience in the new eatery has been come from the one group least expected to help.

“Our competitors have been great,” she said. “Especially Mark and Sabrina Harrell at Roberts; they’ve been a great help.”

When Smokin’ Jacks first opened, Pam Poole said there was some equipment they didn’t have at the restaurant. The Harrells offered to help Pam and Jacky by loaning them some of that equipment.

Getting help from competitors may be enough evidence the Pooles will continue to grow their barbecue restaurant. But if it hadn’t been for friends, Pam Poole isn’t sure how she and her husband would have made it through the first week of business.

“On the first day we were open, it was a holiday,” she said. “We had a lot of friends who just came and were there helping us.”

So far, Pam Poole says she’s received a majority of positive comments about the restaurant, the service and the quality of food. And like any restaurant — not to mention one that doesn’t quite have the sign hung from the building — there have been people whose food might have been categorized as “belated.”

“People have been so understand, and I think they know we’re getting better,” Pam said.

Based on the repeat customers, and the word-of-mouth that quickly spreads across small towns like this, the Pooles have created a restaurant has exceeded expectations and will only get better with time.