Ronald Gary Smith – a veteran restaurateur and chef with 40 years of experience in the food industry – is adding a new ingredient to his culinary arsenal: Increased mobility for larger vehicles not immediately available at other area eateries.

In roughly a month, Smith, owner of Smith's Bar-B-Que, is opening his second mobile barbecue stand at a lot across the street from 2026 S Jackson St  (along U.S. 69). He will serve lunches and dinners there on Fridays, Saturdays (and, eventually, Thursdays) at this new location. Smith's business also will sport an extended and expanded catering service.

Extremely confident now that he has this  new "mobility" business ace up his sleeve, Smith, 56, is making moves –  including increasing his public profile. He formally joined the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce on Monday.

Smith said his new parking lot allows a wealth of  room for larger trucks to pull off the road, drive up and get their food with minimum hassle. The new stand, like the previous one, will offer brisket, ribs and sausage in varying amounts topped with the Smith trademark barbecue sauce.

Smith, who describes that sauce as "the best in East Texas," said making room for larger vehicles is the definite key to success.

"There's nothing in Jacksonville like what I have – accessibility to trucks and the trucking industry in general," he said. "The amount of customers I can bring in will be much greater because trucks can pull over and circle the parking lot – they'll drive in, like at McDonald's or Taco Bell, but it will be easier for them. Everything is much more accessible."

Meanwhile, Smith said he expects to keep working out of his current location in the parking lot of Bolton Street Christian Church, 702 N Bolton St. even after the new stand is built. It is there he will prepare all catering meals in the future, he said.

Until the new stand is built, all Smith's business will be conducted at the Bolton location from 11 a.m. until roughly 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Smith, a licensed food service manager, expects to put in quite a bit of work on the construction of his new, 240-foot trailer – which, he said, should pop up some in the parking lot at some point next month.  

Smith's business  phone number is (903) 944-0036. Email is



The Heritage Center of Cherokee County is presenting its “A Banker's Holiday” event to honor the Bonner and Perkins Families and restoration of the first bank of Cherokee County. Proceeds of the fund-raising gala to benefit the Heritage Center of Cherokee County, according to an online post.

The Gala will be held on April 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. at 208 S Henderson St. Tickets are $20 per person and festivities include silent & live auctions and a “wine & cheese tasting.”  

The museum also has extended hours and now is open on Fridays from 1 to 5 p.m.

For additional information or to volunteer at the Heritage Center of Cherokee County please call (903) 683-5665, (903) 683-5235, visit the website at or befriend them on Facebook.


The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce is putting out the word: The 29th Annual Tomato Festival is on its way! June 8 is the date for the event on Commerce and Austin Streets in downtown Jacksonville!

The chamber has added booth applications to its website and payment for registration can be sent online. Try


Best cup of coffee or espresso in the city of Jacksonville. Still needing feedback.

Said cuppa has to be hot, tasty, have lots of caffeine, and  have the capacity to wake me up the morning. Trust me. This is a huge challenge. Email me at Jacksonville, I will put your suggestion on a tallied list. Later, I will travel around town, sampling one cup  per day. I will ultimately proclaim a winner in this column.

I'm waiting to hear from you!

Ben Tinsley, a Jacksonville Daily Progress reporter with over 20 years in the journalism industry, writes Business Confidential, a column designed to help promote and help spotlight the diverse and growing business community of Cherokee County.

Wish to submit ideas? Simply contact Ben Tinsley by emailing or call him at 903-586-2236. Tinsley can also be followed on Twitter at or on Facebook at

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