Article from the Reading Eagle
"While it’s become fashionable to peddle smoked barbecue off a food truck or trailer, Mad J’s BBQ still sees the value in having a physical location — or two.
The Nazareth, Northampton County-based restaurant and caterer announced in October that it will open a second location here in Berks County at the Maidencreek Towne Center mixed-use development along Park Road.
Justin Windish, a Fleetwood resident who co-owns Mad J’s BBQ with business partner Jay Torres, recognized a number of potential advantages with a new Blandon storefront. “There are other businesses that are established there and it seems like they do pretty well,” Windish said. “There are housing developments nearby.
“It seems like a busy area.”
It also provides Mad J’s an opportunity to set up a permanent camp in Berks, where inroads have already been made through catering and community events. Since opening the first restaurant a little more than two years ago in 2019, Mad J’s BBQ has quickly gained “a pretty good following” beyond Lehigh County, Windish said.
Mad J’s pops up at the Leesport Farmers Market on a nearly monthly basis, for example, while others may have been introduced through a brief partnership with Willow Creek Brewing in West Reading. It was all a bit much to run out of a tiny building over an hour away, or even to operate from a mobile truck or trailer. “Our place in Nazareth is kind of small,” Windish said. “We were limited there.
“This is a bigger place. We’re starting to do a lot of stuff down in Berks, so it just makes sense to have it closer.”
Access was also a thought, as the Maidencreek Township location is nearby Routes 73, 222 and 422 — not to mention just a few minutes down the road from Windish’s home. The new Mad J’s of Blandon will also allow Windish and Torres to serve a lot more customers, especially during winter months when festivals and catered events tend to be fewer and farther between.
The interior of the restaurant will seat 20-25 diners, whereas the Nazareth location was primarily for catering with a handful of outdoor picnic tables.
Whether Mad J’s can become less of a seasonal business will be put to the test immediately, as Windish said they are currently eyeing a November soft opening, which will be announced on social media. “All of our meat is smoked over wood,” he said. “Nothing else is ever used to cook or heat anything.
“We also make all of our own sauces and rubs — we have five different barbecue sauces. Pretty much everything you can get and eat here is made by us, except for the rolls.” While Windish wouldn’t rule out further expansion in the future, the focus right now is getting Mad J’s of Blandon up and running.
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