A family-owned restaurant from Tennessee has made its way to the Joplin area. JT’s Burgers and Wings brought a taste of the South to Webb City at the beginning of March, and owner Stacie Jones said they intend to stay.

Jones’ father, Clyde Warren Lowdermilk, opened JT’s with a few family members in Munford, Tenn., in February of 2005. The name, Jones said, honors her late cousin, Jason Thomas, who went by JT.

Jones said she and her husband Travis had been keeping an eye on the space in Stone’s Corner Plaza previously occupied by Piez, waiting for the perfect time to expand JT’s.

“My husband and I had been talking about it, praying about it, and watching this location grow,” said Jones. “There aren’t a lot of family restaurants out here. So we just decided we would give it a whirl.”

The burger and wings joint had its soft opening on March 4, but Jones said the opening was anything but soft.

“We tried to do a soft opening and it was overwhelming,” she said. “The first week was over-the-top amazing.”

JT’s offers fresh, hand-pressed burgers and never-frozen chicken wings hand-battered to order. Jones said the burgers have been very popular so far, and she believes the quality of their burgers has made all the difference.

As for their wings, JT’s has both dry rubs and wet sauces, varying from lemon pepper and Cajun to honey gold, sweet ginger, and suicide.

For those looking for healthier or gluten-free options, the menu features grilled chicken and vegetables, as well as many gluten-free items, as Jones’ father has a gluten allergy.

Jones said JT’s is in the process of getting a beer license, but even though they do plan on serving draft and bottled beer, she and her husband want to keep the atmosphere family-friendly.

The Webb City store shares a menu with its mother branch in Tennessee, and Jones said the communication between her and her father is daily.

“He is our backbone. He actually takes a lot of pride in the restaurant business. He’s been in the restaurant business for almost all of his life,” she said.

Jones and her family spent two months renovating the space before opening, and now she spends almost 14 hours a day making sure the restaurant runs smoothly.

“This is our baby. I’m pretty much protecting it right now. I’m all over the place making sure everything is good,” she said.

In spite of the quick turnover of the restaurants that came before JT’s, Jones said they intend to become an area staple.

“The last two places weren’t here [in this location] very long at all, so that’s the reputation that we’re trying to break here,” she said. “We plan on being here a long time. I would love for my kids to have a part of it when they get older.”

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