Head to Ashland Illinois to get a bit of down home food and has the feel of shopping in a store from yesterday. It feels like stepping back in time because you literally are. The Jones family offers fresh cut meats and specializes in “wurts” and “brats” in a building built during the 1850’s and expanded in the 40’s.
The storefront could be a movie set from 50 years ago, but it is one of the hottest places in central Illinois to find fresh quality brats and meats along with other grocery goods. Jones Boys Market is run by the third and fourth generation with John and Beth Jones. The store opened in 1932. The story began in the front section of the in the 1850’s as a dry goods store. “My grandpa and his brother’s Aunt Gertrude “Trudy” Blank started the business,” Dan Jones said.
When Trudy opened the store it was called Blank’s Groceries. Dan Jones added that “Her dad had the first hardware store in Ashland located across the street.”
Although in a small town, the store has managed to gain a following in part because of the buy fresh buy local movement that has put Jones Boys Market on the map. Dan Jones joined the family business in 2010 and has been using his marketing genius to promote his father’s handmade high quality meats at local farmers markets and around the area. These days Jones Boys brats are even on the menu at microbrewery and eatery Obed & Isaac’s. In 2014 Dan won an Agri-Tourism award for his efforts for bringing people to Ashland.
The top ten favorite brats at Jones Boys Markets are the Apple, English Bangers, Chicken Bacon Ranch, Smoked Mozzarella & Garlic, Sweet Italian, Horseradish, Steakhouse, Jalapeno, Root Beer, Ham & Pineapple and the newly developed Smoked Cheddar. Besides the specialty brats Jones Brothers Market also offers up their own pulled pork, hand rubbed ribs and fresh cut steaks and chops. “We also grind our own hamburger from ground sirloin,” Dan Jones said.
Dan credits some of his father’s specialty brats to the fact that he traveled overseas to Korea during the Vietnam War and enjoyed and experienced new flavors. “He first created a Hungarian recipe and eventually created his famous Apple brat recipe.”
The brats were developed John said after customers began to ask for them. “A man from Springfield was looking for some Apple brats and I thought I could make them. I wrote my own recipe,” John added.
“When I started Dad had 8 to 10 type of brats,” Dan said. “It took a lot of effort now we are up to 52 different kinds. Dad knows meat. My grandma had a big family and was always in the kitchen. That love of cooking was passed down.”
Jones Market is located at 201 Editor Street. They are open Monday – Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. ad Saturday from 7-4. Check out their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jones-Boys-Market for more information or call 217-476-3914.