The weekend before Jim Price opened his Texas-style barbecue resident in Havelock, he couldnít sleep.


The weekend before Jim Price opened his Texas-style barbecue resident in Havelock, he couldnít sleep.



"I was lying in bed worried that I wouldnít be able to sell the food that I bought, that nobody would ever buy it," he said. "On Monday at 10:30 when we opened, people were waiting in the parking lot, and by 11, the line was wrapped all the way around the dining room and stayed that way. Tuesday was the same and every day since.



"Itís amazing. Iím just very humbled and very grateful."



JJ Texas BBQ opened May 20 in Havelock. And instead of worrying about no one buying the food, Price is at the opposite end of the spectrum, often by the end of lunch running out of the brisket, ribs, chicken and side items, some of which must cook for 12 hours.



Because of the long cooking process as well as licensing rules, the restaurant is limited in the amount of food it can currently prepare, Price said.



"I wish to goodness I could serve all the way until 8 oíclock at night," he said, adding that he plans on getting additional permits and equipment that would allow him to prepare more food. "I hate that people get turned away. Thatís the worst thing in the world to tell someone you canít provide something to them."



But at the same time, Price said he would not compromise quality for quantity.



"We cook our meats fresh on site every day," he said. "Thereís nothing frozen or pre-cooked. We cook all of our meats fresh and all of our sides from our own family recipes. We cook it every day fresh.



"Iím not going to put something out there that is an inferior product. I would rather not serve it than put an inferior product out there."



And because of that, Price and his son John face some long hours. They begin preparing the next dayís food in the afternoon and early evening, using special seasoning to prepare the meat, which is slow-cooked overnight. They arrive at the restaurant around 6 a.m. to continue preparations.



"I go home at 8 oíclock at night, and I just drop down and fall asleep," Jim Price said. "Weíre closed Sundays because you have to take some time off."



Price came to Havelock with his parents in 1974 and graduated from Havelock High School in 1981. He joined the Air Force, married his wife Jo, and they had a son, John, and daughter, Jennifer.



"We wanted to name it quadruple J, but double J sounds more like Texas," he joked.



His wife Jo has relatives in Texas, and thatís where Price developed his love for Texas-style barbecue. He sought the advice of family cooks and visited restaurants in Lockhart, Texas, the official barbecue capital of Texas, in developing his recipes.



Price moved back to Havelock in 2009 to be closer to his parents, and with his son working in the restaurant business, talk of opening a Texas-style barbecue place in Havelock began.



"When we talked about this, we talked about how this was a chance to do something for Havelock," Price said. "I had a number of people tell me to go to New Bern. I had a number of people tell me to go to Morehead. They said Iíd make more money. Everybody was telling me Ďdonít do it in Havelock. Restaurants donít make it in Havelock.í



"I just felt that this is my hometown and I wanted to do something for Havelock, and itís something hopefully Havelock will embrace and that Havelock will enjoy and it will be something good for our town. It will improve our town, and I will do my part. So far, weíre managing to achieve that because Havelock has embraced us."



When LaRosaís Italian restaurant closed, the opportunity to open in Havelock was secured in what Price remembered was originally a McDonaldís restaurant.



The family spent six weeks remodeling, installing cookers and adding new appliances. All was done in an attempt to provide quality food for a good price in a friendly atmosphere.



"In Havelock, people are looking to spend less than $10 on lunch. Thatís Havelock, and Iím one of those people, so thatís my goal, to be able to provide you lunch for $10," he said. "If youíre really hungry, you may spend more than $10, but our goal was to keep your lunch under $10."



Price said the most popular item so far has been the brisket sandwich combo, which includes a 4-ounce brisket sandwich and choice of baked beans, potato salad or cole slaw for $7.99.



With Price making the food he loves in his hometown and enjoying the early success of the restaurant, one might think he was living a dream. Well, sort of.



"I think the dream come true is to be able to do something with my wife and son," he said. "Itís neat to work with my son and my wife every day. Itís awesome."



The restaurant, located at 405 West Main St., has scheduled its official grand opening with a Havelock Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting for 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.



The restaurant opens at 10:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday and serves until the food runs out. The phone number is 652-6063 and its website is www.jjtexasbbq.com.