Barn Express reopens Thursday, Aug. 1

WINNSBORO – Answering the prayers lifted up by many folks in Fairfield County the last two months, Jennifer Boone has re-opened the popular Barn Express. It opened Thursday morning at 10 a.m.

It’s going to be the same, but different, the longtime co-owner of the restaurant told The Voice earlier in the week.

Jennifer Boone, co-owner of Barn Express. | Barbara Ball

“It will no longer have the convenience store component,” Boone said. “It’s just going to be a restaurant. I got rid of all the booths – sold ‘em yesterday. We will have tables and chairs in both the dining room and in the front area,” Boone said, running through a list of changes customers will see. “We’ll still have the buffet, but no more busboys. I’m going to have waitresses instead,” she said.

A new ordering system will take orders straight to the kitchen and make everything more efficient, Boone added.

“We’ll have a couple of people on the floor to assist the customers so they won’t have to be running back and forth to get a drink,” Boone said. “I’ve bought new kitchen equipment and added another fryer to keep us from running out of fried chicken. We’re also adding subs and some additional sandwiches, and we’re adding to our grill menu.

“I’m trying to do better. I want our customers to have a better experience,” Boone said.

One thing longtime customers may not like better is that Boone will no longer be open for breakfast but will be open for an early dinner.

“We will be open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., seven days a week,” Boone said. “But no breakfast.”

After 24 years running the restaurant, starting in 1995 with her dad, the late Jackie Mincey, and later with her sister Julie Haynes, Boone said she has come back refreshed.

“We intended to just be taking a vacation and closed for a week when my husband had knee surgery the end of May,” Boone said. “But during the same week, Julie became a grandmother for the first time. Plus my mom was not well, so we just shut the place down and decided to sell it. I realized that the welfare of my husband and mom were more important to me than the store. Julie felt the same about her new grandbaby. But, you know, when my husband got well and my mom was feeling better, I didn’t have anything to do! I began missing all our customers. So I decided to open back up, but with changes,” she said.

Haynes, on the other hand, decided to continue on playing with her new grand, and will not be rejoining her sister in the business. The two purchased the business from their dad in 2003.

“While we were closed, we started to hear from our customers. I didn’t realize how important the restaurant was to the town and how much our customers missed us,” Boone said. “It makes me feel really good that we apparently did the right thing all these years to have so many loyal customers. With the changes, I’m looking forward to opening back up.”

The Chamber of Commerce is planning a ribbon cutting for the grand re-opening sometime in mid-August, Boone said.

“But I’m going ahead and opening now so we have time to get used to the new way we’ll be doing things. It will give us time to adjust,” Boone said. “I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again, and I think the customers will like everything better.”

Everything except, maybe, the part about ‘no breakfast.’