Johnson barbecue joint Wright’s Barbecue is extending its brand of Texas-style brisket north to downtown Bentonville, where it will open a second location later this year.
Restaurant entrepreneur Jordan Wright said the company will lease a renovated 1,900-square-foot residential property at 208 N.E. Third St. The building is situated next to Lawrence Plaza and across the street from a trailhead for the Slaughter Pen trail system.
The building’s most recent tenant was the 3rd Street Eatery and Bakery, which closed in January 2016. The property has changed hands twice since then. Eldon Blackaby, through his BBT Investments LLC, is the current owner. Jody Thornton, owner of the popular JJ’s Grill franchise, was the owner before that.
Wright opened Wright’s Barbecue inside a small and unassuming white house at 2212 Main Drive in Johnson in October 2017. He likes the idea of a similar-sized property in Bentonville.
“It’s a good time and a good building,” he said. “I like the idea of expanding to a downsized spot. I think, typically, restaurants want to grow with a second [location] that’s bigger. I think it’s good to grow into a space we can manage.”
Wright left a corporate career with Tyson Foods in the summer of 2017 to give his full attention to the restaurant, which began as a food truck the previous year and still maintains a robust catering division.
With a menu that specializes in Texas-style brisket, ribs, sausage, pulled pork and smoked chicken, the restaurant has gained legs as a go-to destination for nationally recognized barbecue.
Wright said he hopes to have the Bentonville restaurant open by late August.
You can learn more about Wright and his start in the restaurant business in this cover story published in January 2019 in the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal.