Jonny Womack, also known as Jonny Boy, didn’t start out as a baker. Long before the days of Jonny Boy Cookies, Jonny worked in the healthcare field, first as an LPN and later as a drug representative. While making his rounds to different doctor’s offices, Jonny would take his homemade cookies along to thank the staff. Big Boys Cookies was initially conceived to make Jonny’s cookies more professional.
By the time the holiday season came around, offices started calling Jonny, looking to get more of his cookies. Jonny just kept saying yes- leading to over 90 dozen cookies being ordered by different doctor’s offices! Armed with only a single Kitchen-Aid Mixer and a single conventional oven, the cookies began to be baked. Jonny would bake 30 hours at a time. Hannah, Jonny’s wife and “quality control”, would wrap and package them. Thankfully, two more mixers were borrowed shortly after.
After the holiday rush, over the course of a long car ride, Jonny and Hannah decided to take the plunge. In March 2016, the original Big Boy Cookies food truck hit the road. Turning your home business into something more does have its challenges. As part of their marketing, Jonny started a Facebook business account, which requires an address. Since they were a food truck, Jonny listed his home. One morning, while he and Hannah were sitting on their porch drinking coffee, a car pulled up. A couple had driven from Charleston to try their famous cookies! Of course, Jonny and Hannah welcomed them in, and baked them some cookies for their effort. As the business continued to grow, the next step was a brick and mortar, and in September of 2017 that’s exactly what opened along The Blue Mile in Statesboro, Georgia.
Jonny Boy now has over 50 cookie recipes, from Jalapeño Corn to Caramel Apple. Taking care of people has always been integral to Jonny and his cookies reflect that, with lactation cookies and gluten free and vegan options. Flavor is also at the core of Jonny Boy Cookies. Their original tagline was “Finally, a Cookie for Adults!”, which led to some confusion about the contents of the cookies…however, Jonny was quick to clarify.
“Our cookies have nuanced flavors that adults will pick up on and enjoy, but the kids will love too!” His personal favorite tends to change, but one that always stays near the top is the Molasses Cookie. These are finished with a roll in a coarse sugar, adding a pleasant texture to the outside. Jonny boy definitely has opinions about flavor.
“I won’t make an oatmeal raisin cookie- they’re gross. I do have an Oatmeal Rum Craisin though!” When asked about his best seller, Jonny said chocolate chip, noting that it’s most peoples “security blanket” cookie. Christopher Kimball, co-founder of America’s Test Kitchen, tried to create the perfect chocolate chip cookie by baking hundreds of cookies, an expedition that actually helped inspire Jonny, by showing him the variety and experimentation that went into baking cookies. Much like Mr. Kimball, Jonny has little formal culinary training.
“If we knew what we were doing, we wouldn’t have what we have. I don’t have to follow strict guidelines- that’s how you get Chicken and Waffles!” The Chicken and Waffles cookie is a specialty cookie that carries a sweet, maple flavor with a spicy finish. Bold is a word that is used to describe Jonny’s flavors often, but is also important to him in the decision making process of each cookie- such as picking the correct bourbon for the Maple Bacon Bourbon cookies.
Next time you stop in, be sure to check out the Georgia Grown items they carry, including Cork’s Kettle Corn, Dee’s Nuts, Byne’s Blueberries, and Southern Pawz products. One product Jonny Boy offers that you may not be familiar with is their edible cookie dough, which is made with pasteurized eggs and cooked flour. Freezing cookie dough actually adds a depth of flavor and while it can be eaten as is, Jonny also says that baking the cookie dough is a delicious, worthwhile experience.
The food truck, now called the Cookie Wagon, is still on the go, available for events, and can be tracked through their social media. Johnny Boy Cookies is now able to ship nationwide and plans to expand their online offerings. Their cookies can also be delivered locally through Chow Now. Don’t see your favorite Jonny Boy cookie in the case when you come in? Order a half dozen and they will be happy to bake them up fresh for you!
The Grand Rebrand Celebration will be Friday, October 1st. When asked about the name change, Jonny was quick to say that he didn’t feel like they lost big boy- but gained Jonny Boy! “Jonny Boy” represents the new spin on southern tradition that Jonny prioritizes in his baking.
The Grand Rebrand Celebration will kick off at 9am as a full day of fun! Not only will fall favorites be available, including Pumpkin Snickerdoodle, Cotton Candy, and Oatmeal Butterscotch, but a brand new cookie will be announced! Pie Society and Sweet Spice, two food trucks, will be set up outside at 10:30am. BOGO discounts and giveaways, including the chance to win a half dozen cookies per month for a year, will be happening until 6pm. Swing by on Friday from 9am-6pm to get in on the action at 441 South Main Street, Statesboro. Give them a call at (912) 259-9866 or head to https://jonnyboycookies.com/ to check out their website.
All images courtesy of Jonny Boy Cookies social media accounts.
“We smoke while you sleep” is a tagline that tells you a lot about the philosophy behind Dolan’s Bar B Que. Pit masters are used to early mornings and labors of love, but Mary Beth Brown has even more responsibilities as the operator of Dolan’s. Mary Beth co-owns the restaurant with her sister Lazar Brown Oglesby (Honey Specialties). We recently spoke with Mary Beth while touring the new location.
Mary Beth explained how diners will order at a front counter. Her goal is fast service for everybody. “I want you to be able to come in and grab something quick, especially during lunch. An hour for lunch goes by very fast, especially if you’re trying to go in somewhere and sit down. There aren’t a lot of places in Statesboro that operate like that.”
There is a drive-thru window that will be used exclusively as a pick up window for Dolan’s orders that have been called ahead, another testament to the speed and service Mary Beth wants to offer. However, if you aren’t in a hurry, Dolan’s will also be a great place to hang out. Their porch will be pet friendly and they plan to have live music on a regular basis. Relax and watch your favorite team on one of the TVs while enjoying a beverage, since Dolan’s also has your libation needs covered.
You’ll be asked while ordering if you want bar service. If yes, you’ll be given a separate table marker that will alert a bar server. Dolan’s will have a full bar, featuring nearly 10 signature cocktails that are all named after Statesboro Bars of the past. This includes drinks like The Wooden Nickel, The Flame, Animal House, and Legends. There will also be a focus on featuring locally sourced spirits, such as a frozen Arnold Palmer based drink that will include Savannah Sweet Tea Bourbon.
One of the features of Dolan’s that people have noticed from the outside is what has popped up behind it- a large, brick pit and chimney. Mary Beth explained that Dolan’s will actually have two pits for barbecuing: a traditional brick pit and a barrel pit. The brick pit is modeled after a pit on the family farm used by Dolan, Mary Beth and Lazar’s granddad, who is the namesake of the restaurant.
“There are certain things I like better on the brick pit and certain things I like better on the barrel. And in Texas, the holy grail of BBQ, a lot of them do it the same way. They cook their pork butts and chickens on the brick, which is what my intention is. Brisket and ribs on the barrel.”
Distinct from the dark greens and rustic aesthetic, a portion of the dining room stands out, with white tile and blue cabinetry. This is the new home of Honey Specialties where you can purchase cheesecakes, chicken salads, and casseroles. This corner will also sell Dolan’s sauces and merchandise like t-shirts and hats.
When asked why Dolan’s was being opened in Statesboro, Mary Beth smiled, and began by very graciously acknowledging how wonderfully Millen has supported both Dolan’s and Honey locations.
“On any given Saturday in Dolan’s in Millen, the majority of the people that are dining with us are not from Millen. At least half, if not more, are from Bulloch County- Statesboro could support this vision, while I could stay local.”
The potential impact a restaurant like Dolan’s could have on our community can’t be understated and Mary Beth’s excitement is infectious. She has many ideas she wants to implement down the road, such as Sunday brunch and bingo night.
“It’s almost done. I had one of these moments; it was when the electricity finally got turned on. I came by, it was close to dark, and all the lights were on, inside and out. I almost started crying. We’re so close.”
If you want to join the Dolan’s crew, they are currently accepting applications for most positions on their website (https://dolansbbq.com/). Look for Dolan’s Bar B Que to open in late September or early October on the Blue Mile.
Ask locals about D’s Friendly Diner and they’ll tell you that it’s one of Statesboro’s best kept secrets. Open since 2012, it is the ideal small town restaurant experience. From the welcoming atmosphere and kind servers to the tasty diner cuisine, there’s little not to love. D’s has a variety of sandwiches, salads, burgers, and breakfast platters, as well as plenty of opportunities for customization.
Open from 7am-1:30pm seven days a week, you can enjoy their breakfast or lunch offerings anytime. From the red checkered tablecloths to the pictures of regulars hanging on the walls, D’s Friendly Diner is a local joint full of good food and good times.
Visit Statesboro Staff Recommendations:
Becky Davis is a fan of the Eggsplosion Burger, which takes the classic combo of burger and egg, and makes it D’s style, with the egg cooked to your preference.
Justin Samples recommends the Philly Omelette that’s filled with philly steak, melty swiss cheese, onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Add a little bit of hot sauce and this savory dish is sure to start your day off on the right foot!
One local hack Visit Statesboro recommends for D’s Friendly Diner? Skip the toast. Order a biscuit instead, which is cut in half and warmed on the griddle. With a little bit of jam, it’s the breakfast equivalent of dessert.
Nestled in the corner of College Plaza, Coconut Thai Cuisine is a hidden gem. Kamolwan Amy Kawpunna has been the chef and owner since 2016, bringing bold Thai flavors to Statesboro. Walking into Coconut Thai Cuisine, the lighting and gold accents on the wall create an open, enticing space. There are lots of details to notice, with one wall being almost entirely covered by a collage of mirrors and frames. One very telling fact about this restaurant is their commitment to not using monosodium glutamate (MSG) in their kitchen. This restaurant also offers vegan and gluten free versions of their sauces and most dishes, so make sure you talk to your server if you have dietary restrictions.
If you want to enjoy a beverage with your meal, Coconut Thai Cuisine has a full service bar with frequent drink specials. There are a number of cocktails on the menu, as well as a variety of regional liquors and spirits from places like Savannah Distilling and Ghost Coast Distillery.
Coconut Thai Cuisine also has an interesting deal for the adventurous- you can make your meal a “Taste of Thailand”, meaning that you get the chef’s choice of appetizer and dessert with your entrée for an additional $4. This is a great way to introduce yourself to the flavors Coconut Thai Cuisine has to offer.
When starting your meal, there are many appetizers to consider. Their Steamed Dumplings are wonderful. If you’ve never had an authentic one, treat yourself! The Basil Roll consists of vegetables wrapped in basil and steamed rice paper; it is a lovely vegetarian option that tastes like the definition of fresh. However, the star of the appetizers has to be the Blue Mussels. Cooked and served in a creamy lemongrass broth, the mussels take on an excellent bright, garlic flavor that makes this dish a must try.
After your appetizer, it’s time for the main course. There are a wide variety of chef specials, including dishes like Australian Lamb Chops and Steamed Sea Bass. There are also curry, fried rice, and noodle dishes that let you decide the spiciness and proteins, helping tailor your dish to your taste. One standout dish is the Ahi Tuna, which is served over their fried rice with cashews and golden raisins.
If you haven’t tried Statesboro’s only Thai restaurant, stop by Coconut Thai Cuisine for lunch or dinner any day of the week! Check out their website or give them a call at 912-225-3757.
Free Comic Book Day is an annual event hosted at hundreds of comic book shops across the country to celebrate the art form and encourage new fans. Here in Statesboro, Galactic Comics & Games is the place to get in on the action on Saturday, August 14th.
The doors will open at 9am and every individual will be able to select four comics from a wide selection, featuring all of the major publishers carried at the shop. Keith Brown, owner of Galactic Comics & Games, recommends people come early, as some of the comics are in high demand.
There will also be opportunities for additional free comic books! You can receive two comic books if you are cosplaying or wearing a costume. This will also enter you into a special raffle for bonus prizes and gift certificates.
Several local artists will also be set up at the shop, doing live sketches and selling their art. This is a great opportunity to talk with artists and learn more about the art form itself. This is Galactic’s 16th year celebrating the event- make sure you add Free Comic Book Day to your Saturday plans when you Visit Statesboro!
You can enjoy the festivities yourself at Galactic Comics & Games, at 21 East Vine Street. For more information, give them a call at 912-489-3123.
Want to truly make memories that will last a lifetime? Plan ahead to take back roads to your next vacation destination!
Chart a course that allows you to navigate back roads as often as possible and forget the blur of blinding billboards and big rigs. Enjoy the scenery provided by small towns and build unique stops into your route while leaving a little wiggle room. You never know when you might drive through a small town hosting a festival or parade so look at side trips or unplanned expeditions as a bonus! Historical venues, interesting restaurants, local breweries, or perhaps even guided tours can provide plenty of additional reasons to pull over, too.
Being flexible and keeping an open mind will maximize your experience. Make sure your travel companions, whether family or friends, are all on the same page about this up front. Pack unique snacks, create a travel-themed play list, and share fun road trip games to maximize your fun!
Enjoy traveling at your own pace with no worries of lost luggage or departure deadlines. Cherish your time in the car together and remember that adventure can be found in the most unexpected places.
On and Open is a centralized digital marketplace for local, small businesses and non-profits offering discounted gift cards and products to help supplement the loss of cash flow due to the coronavirus.
Their goal is to ease the strain that many small businesses and non-profits are facing, specifically when it comes to cash flow. The program helps Statesboro and surrounding area small businesses and non-profits to keep their lights on and their doors open.
100% of the proceeds from every gift certificate purchased will go straight to the vendor.
How It Works
- You go to onandopen.com.
- Purchase a discounted gift card.
- They deliver the payment and your information to the vendor(s).
- The vendor will coordinate the delivery of the gift card to you.
For Your Business
If you’d like to have your business’s products or services featured, email [email protected]
If you have walked along the left hand side of East Main street towards Statesboro’s downtown, you may have noticed that the wall of 48 East Main facing the alley has a new look.
Charleston-based artist David Boatwright painted the new mural that now adorns a spot that used to be bare brick. Boatwright was approached by the Bulloch County Historical Society with the idea for the mural and specified the moment in time that they wanted him to capture.
The mural depicts the moment that Statesboro’s residents received word by train that the college had been funded, a moment that changed the history of the town. A nearby historical marker tells the story of “ The Fabulous Fifty of 1906.” In December of that year, fifty delegates from Bulloch County traveled by train to Savannah. Their quest: to secure Bulloch County as the spot for the district’s first Agricultural and Mechanical School. The mural depicts their triumphant return to Statesboro having secured the winning bid.
Boatwright and his associate Michael Kuffel spent several weeks in Statesboro painting the mural.
The artist used an old photograph of the train station to form the basic image.
Boatwright has been doing hand-painted signage and murals since the 1990s. He says that ever since, demand for such pieces has increased. When asked the reason for such a boom, he said “It is absolutely a reaction to the digital revolution. Digital signs are visually crisp and perfect, but there is something about hand-painted, custom work that has more value now than it has ever had.”
“…there is something about hand-painted, custom work that has more value now than it has ever had.”
-David Boatwright, Mural Artist
If you are looking for a way to get some fresh air while social distancing, take a walk along East Main street and check out the mural. Lose yourself in the festive atmosphere of the train station scene and an occasion that changed Statesboro forever.
Vandy’s Barbecue is the very definition of a “local institution.” Established in 1929, it celebrated its 90th birthday last year. Their iconic location at 22 West Vine street has been there since 1943, but that was not their original location. Vandy Boyd actually started his business in the town of Portal. He clearly knew what he was doing, since he moved his business into Statesboro’s downtown, taking up residence at the Simmons Shopping Center (formerly located on the block bordered by Elm Street, between North Main and North Walnut). Their “newest” location at the Statesboro Mall is over a generation old, established in 1970.
From their open-style barbecue pit (one of only six left in the state) they serve up roasted pork and chicken, alongside regional favorites like Brunswick stew. Since they use local oak wood to smoke their meat, you can say that everything they do is literally permeated with local flavor!
The restaurant has changed hands several times in the last couple decades but subsequent owners have maintained the local character of the establishment that has served the Statesboro community and beyond for over ninety years.
“It is all about the staff…We have a lot of great people doing a great job.” – Brandon O’Mahoney, Owner
Current owner Brandon O’Mahoney is tenaciously trying to keep the downtown location open for take-out and serving the community while respecting the restrictions around social distancing. O’Mahoney says “It is all about the staff…We have a lot of great people doing a great job.”
Their signature barbecue sauce is available on their website in case you find yourself missing your favorite sauce, or have since moved away and crave a taste of Statesboro.
These are unprecedented times, full of unexpected changes. Locals can take comfort in the fact that one thing that does not seem to change is Vandy’s.
These are difficult times for all of us, and local restaurants are no exception. They are one of the many industries that can’t “work from home” or survive long in a social distancing movement. In response to this, many Statesboro restaurants are making significant adjustments to accommodate the current situation.
The status of these restaurants changes every couple of days, but here is an update-to-date list being maintained by Grice Connect and the Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce.
4 ways you can support your favorite local restaurants and eat local:
1. Purchase Gift Cards
Most restaurants offer some form of gift card or gift certificate. This is something you can do to ease their burden of the loss of your normal spending. This is also something you can do while staying at home. Many local restaurants will provide a way to order gift cards over the phone or online. Once things return to business-as-usual, use the gift card sparingly and spread out over a period of time to make sure these businesses have a steady flow of revenue afterwards. Or better yet, give it as a gift to a friend you’ve been trying to convince to try your favorite place!
2. Order Takeout
A lot of restaurants are streamlining their takeout services. Many dine-in restaurants are changing to take-out only. Even fast food chains, that normally thrive on takeout, are making adjustments to their order handling processes. Check your favorite dining establishments for how they are providing to-go meals.
3. Order from Market-2-Go
The Statesboro Main Street Farmers Market has a year-round online market where you can order locally grown and locally made products like produce, dairy, meat, herbs, plants, seeds, jellies, preserves, and more! Ordering must be completed by midnight on Tuesdays to be picked up at the Statesboro Convention & Visitors Bureau on the following Thursday. CLICK HERE for more information.
Several local restaurants are still open for business. Some have even adjusted their dining room to allow more space between customers, and staggering seating times to make sure safe distances are kept between parties. This means they are valuing social distance over the quantity of customers they can serve during this time.
In fact, all restaurants seem to be posting about stepping up their cleaning & sanitation game. And for food service establishments that already operate under stringent health codes this means quite a lot. Could you imagine if your kitchen was scrutinized the same way theirs are even under normal circumstances? Not sure we’d all get passing grades.
These are four simple ways to make sure that we all support each other during this time and to help ensure the recovery period afterwards goes quickly. Let’s be an example for others to follow and show the world why we’re The City that Soars!