Hot Johnson’s offers Jackson County a new barbecue experience

Suzette Lowe
Jess and Justin Johnson welcome customers to Hot Johnson’s, Ripley’s newest carry-out restaurant.

It’s all about the secret recipes.

That’s how Justin Johnson describes the special touch he brings to Ripley’s newest eatery, Hot Johnson’s.

The restaurant, which offers hotdogs, brats, hot bologna and pulled pork barbecue, benefits from the cooking talents of Johnson and his father Jess.

“My dad came up with the hotdog and barbecue sauce,” the younger Johnson said. “He switched it up a bit for the spicier sauce on the bologna. Only two people know the recipe.”

For the slaw, Johnson credits his mom. He said she came up with the original recipe, but he added his own twist.

“She ended up liking my version better than hers,” he said. “That is saying something because hers was really good.”

The location on Straight Street is a little out of the way, said Johnson. The building has a full commercial kitchen, providing low overhead for the start-up business.

Currently, food is only available for pick-up with no immediate plans for a dine-in option. One upcoming change Johnson plans is to add barbecue ribs to the menu, available for pre-order.

“Our food is really more of a carry-out style,” he said. “We try to keep our prices reasonable as well.”

Johnson has fond memories of another place famous for its hotdogs.

“I loved the Big R hotdogs just like everyone else,” he said. “I think ours are second only to those.”

Hot Johnson’s, located at 231 Straight St., better known locally as the old JCo Lumber Co., is open Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. To place an order for pick-up, call 304-382-4492 or message Justin Johnson on Facebook. Orders can be placed at the walk-up window as well.