Not every city is blessed to have a Cheers-esque spot as the centerpiece of town, but if you ask virtually any local where the hangout is, the answer is undoubtedly J.Wilson’s. On a mission to create that quality, homegrown space, we caught up with owner John to fill us in on his brand ethos, foodie favs, insane beer list, and brand-new restaurant concept (spoiler: we can’t wait).
Are you from Southeast Texas? Or how did you end up here?
Born and raised right here in Beaumont. Graduated Kelly in 98'.
What's your background with food/restaurants?
My first job was at the old Crazy Jose’s next to Fast Eddie’s and stayed in the industry while getting my undergrad at Georgia Tech. Soon after graduating, I franchised a great concept called Zoe’s Kitchen. We opened three locations in Houston and loved every minute of it.
How do you choose the beers?
Sampling, of course!
What's your favorite dish on the menu besides the beer, of course?
Most popular is hands down the "Man Candy," a slow roasted pork belly glazed in homemade habanero jelly. My favorite dishes right now are our Fried Shrimp, any flatbread, or the burger!
What's the story behind the man candy?
It was one of the first dishes we created when we were developing the menu. We knew it was going to be a hit and just had fun with the name.
What do you think about the Beaumont restaurant scene?
It’s heavy in chains but we're definitely seeing some growth in the independent sector. We need more independents and if it's done right Beaumont will support.
Where are your favorite spots to eat besides your own?
Amelia Farms, Jason's Deli, Tia Junitas, Sweet Basil, Tokyo, Chaba, Monica’s, and of course Rao's
What are some misconceptions about Southeast Texas?
That's it's boring and nothing to do. The City of Beaumont and its event team does a phenomenal job making this city a better place to live and give the community lots of opportunities to get out and about.
What do you like about living here?
100% the people
We can't wait for the new spot -- what can you tell us about it?
We’re still working out all the details but we're remodeling the old gas station at the end of Gladys near the highway. Stay tuned…