• Last modified 211 days ago (Dec. 20, 2023)


Much work still ahead for barbecue building

Staff writer

Although a grant to refurbish a historic downtown building has reached its limit and some of the money returned to the state earlier this month, work continues on a barbecue restaurant planned at the corner of Main and 3rd Sts. in Marion.

“They are still plugging away on the inside,” co-owner Megan Jones said.

Megan and Daryl Jones, co-owners of Bill and Essie’s BBQ, bought the building in 2021 and originally hoped to have customers eating in the dining room by the start of the start of the 2021-’22 school year.

The amount of needed work has been daunting.

“I’m thinking we are not going to open up by 2024,” Megan said. “Every step we took, we found another thing we had to fix.”

At this time, the couple is working to get the kitchen area functional. They plan to open for takeout.

“After that, we’ll work on the dining room,” she said.

Walls of the kitchen area are sparkling white, and some new light fixtures have been installed.

Daryl Jones said an area on the west side of the building near the kitchen might be offered for a small business, such as a sweets shop. For now, that area is as sparkling as the rest of the back kitchen area.

Work on the dining area flooring will begin next.

The dining room floor will be completely replaced. Roof leaks damaged many portions of the building, Megan said.

The Joneses bought the building in 2020. It had been previously opened by a couple who turned it into MacGregor’s restaurant but abruptly closed in 2017 after fire code violations were found a few days after opening.

“A lot of things had been overlooked,” Jones said about the work previously done on the building. “Now we have that experience, and when I talk to someone I can talk about that.”

A new roof was put on the building to stop further damage from leaks.

The couple started doing catering several months ago nonetheless.

Work will slow in winter.

“During the cold months I think we’re going to step back from it and concentrate on getting the kitchen done,” Megan said.

The couple has “lots of grand ideas and lots of things we want to try out,” she said. “This is the community that raised me and I’m ready to give something back,” she said.

The couple has shown movies on the side of the building during downtown events.

“I’m hoping to have an entire calendar of them so people can make plans for that,” Megan said.

Last modified Dec. 20, 2023