As the near east side of Columbus continues its gradual makeover, a well-worn longtime Main Street landmark is about to give way to a bright, shiny new one. JP's Barbecue, known for half a century for giving people “A good ribbin'...” has closed its doors but is opening new ones. Founder J.P. Makar, whose picture graces the back cover of this month's Free Press, has passed on to the great barbecue pit in the sky, but his legacy lives on. The original location at East Main and Ohio, which J.P. himself affectionately referred to as “The Gateway to the Ghetto.” became a mainstay of the area in the mid-'60's, serving up down-home soul food and featuring great values such as chili dogs at five for a dollar.

 JP's daughter Carol Makar recently made the decision to move the entire operation to their sprawling Bolton Field location, which features a 5,000 square-foot party house, indoor dining room and patio dining right off the airport runway. She stresses that JP's is not abandoning the community that made their restaurant famous but has “moved operations to Bolton Field Airport to make way for new development that will benefit and beautify the near East Side.” The old JP's location will soon be torn down with a new retail store taking it's place. Family Dollar has purchased the property and will begin construction of a new store in the coming months.

 Makar says the decision to close JP's and sell the property was made with the community in mind. “It was important that whatever was going to go there was going to benefit the community. Family Dollar was a good fit because it will be a place for families on the near East Side to stretch their dollar.” She added that, in addition to bringing dozens of new jobs to the area, the store with it's landscaping and wrought-iron fencing will beautify the area.

 “Dad would have been proud,”, says Makar, “He loved this community.” As for JP's, the Bolton Field location still offers the same menu, including it's signature “Fat Daddy” and “King Bull.” The party house is available for church functions, family reunions and weddings. And Makar also invites longtime fans to “Come see us at the Ohio State Fair. We are proud to be serving our famous ribs at the fair for the 39th year. Look for us right next to the Coliseum.”

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