After spending a few minutes of time speaking with Chaunce Fulton you quickly learn that his family is the motivation behind his new Forsyth business, BBQ JAX. Even the name on the sign reflects Chaunce’s commitment to his family; Jax is his 3-year-old son.
But, the family ties are more than name deep. Chaunce’s mother-in-law manages the restaurant in the mornings and his oldest son helps out on Saturdays. Fulton and his wife also have two daughters, and he credits Otis Ingram, Jason Adams, Mike Corrigan, and Tiffany Andrews with helping bring his business to life.
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Chaunce’s corporate restaurant training taught him the importance of branding and you will see the signature pig logo everywhere, even down to the sign wrap on his Jeep. He took a lot of care in designing the pig logo to convey a warm, welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere. Chaunce explained, “BBQ JAX is for the community; this is something they can call their own, and there is not another one anywhere.”
One of Fulton’s favorite movies, Cocktail, inspired him to attend Bartending School after serving in the Army. In his early twenties, he bought into a restaurant in the North Atlanta area, which he ran for awhile. He came to Macon in 2008 to open Sticky Fingers. After 3 years, he received a call to open Buca di Beppo and spent a year there. But the corporate restaurant lifestyle took away from time with his family and finally motivated him to, once again, open his own business. Well that and a little Divine intervention. One Sunday while sitting in church, he made the decision to open his own restaurant after the pastor asked the congregation a simple question, “Do you know why you are here?”
The Fultons’ have turned an empty building near the train depot into a lively meeting place for the people of Forsyth. Trains still rumble down the tracks six times a day and the business’ proximity to the city square make it feel like the pulse of Forsyth. The community has been supportive of the new business, but none more than Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy Timothy Cantfield who eats in the restaurant six days a week! “Whenever we are open (he’s here). He is my best customer.” Of course, Chaunce makes sure all his customers get the personal touchgreeting each guest with an introductionhe even makes it a point to respond to every Facebook post personally.
As far as favorites go, the ribs are a hit with the customers, but do not expect a sauce on these ribs, instead Chaunce chose a dry rub. The pulled pork and pulled chicken arrive at your table in their purest form as well. If you prefer to sauce your meat, BBQ JAX offers three options for you, including original, vinegar, or sweet mustard sauce. The balance in the baked beans is perfectly savory and sweet. After getting a few bites from my cup, my six year old managed to swipe the rest for himself and declared the baked beans “the best in the world.”
The most interesting selection on the menu, by far, is the BBQ Sundae, which is presented in a parfait cup with baked beans, pulled pork, slaw, and BBQ sauce! Even though it is a BBQ restaurant, some of Chaunce’s favorite menu items are the huge salads they are serving up. If you still have room after your meal, homemade key lime cake and red velvet cake in mason jars and pound cake by the slice should close the deal.
Chaunce’s goal was to bring more casual variety to Forsyth, a family-friendly place where you can come with the kids. There is no doubt in my mind that he has accomplished his goal while serving up delicious BBQ in a unique, small town setting.
BBQ JAX is open Monday – Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. and is located at 114 E. Johnston Street, Forsyth, Georgia.