When sisters Mary Beth Brown and Lazar Oglesby purchased the old McDonald’s property on South Main Street more than a year ago, they reluctantly understood their dream of turning it into a destination for the finest barbecue in the area would not happen overnight.
“We knew when starting (our Statesboro Dolan’s Bar-B-Que) project that this building was just a shell. A starting point,” Brown said. “The ‘bones’ were good, but anything outside of that would require extensive renovations. Renovating during a pandemic has also proved to be less than ideal. There have been shortages in materials. The cost of everything has risen significantly and there have been delays in getting certain materials. Even with these roadblocks, our project has still managed to stay on track.”
Brown said last August she thought the transformation of the building and property that had sat vacant for more than 20 years would take about a year. And she believes the opening of the Statesboro Dolan’s will either meet or come close to that target.
“We hope to be open by late August or early September,” Brown said. “Our goal is to be open for the start of Fall Semester at Georgia Southern and for the beginning of football season. But, we have not set an exact date quite yet.
“Overall, the renovations are coming along great. I feel like these things always take longer than expected – especially when you are as impatient as I am. As of now, work is moving along as scheduled. There have been a few bumps in the road, which does not come as a surprise when working on a building that has been vacant for 20+ years.”
Brown and Oglesby, owners of Dolan’s Bar-B-Que in Millen and Honey Catering, opened the first Dolan’s in November 2015. It was named for “grandaddy Dolan, who passed down his passion for food, family and friends to us,” Brown said.
The Statesboro Dolan’s will offer a similar menu to the Millen restaurant that has made it so popular, but Brown hopes to add a good bit more.
“We plan to expand our menu once open in Statesboro,” she said. “We will, of course, serve our staple items of chopped barbeque, chicken and ribs daily, but will also feature a Blue Plate Special (meat and three side dishes) to satisfy the homestyle cravings of some customers.
“We will continue to feature one to two daily specials as we did in Millen that showcase the fun and creative side of barbeque.
“Also, we are adding a full bar to our business. The bar menu will include signature cocktails named after and inspired by some of Statesboro’s ‘gone, but not forgotten’ joints, including ‘The Flame,’ ‘Legends,’ and many more. We will continue to add items to our menu, like brunch, as we grow and learn our new clientele.”
The finished product
As the renovations have progressed, Brown said it is exciting to see what Oglesby and she envisioned a year ago becoming a reality.
“The majority of the exterior renovations have been completed,” Brown said. “Green has always been my favorite color so the choice of the exterior was a no brainer. The roof, done by Chandler Roofing, made such a huge difference in the look of the building. Transforming the old playground into a covered porch for outdoor seating was also a must.
“The interior is a mashup of industrial/retro styles. It is very much a reflection of my personal style. I didn't want the inside of this old building to look brand new. We are taking something old and giving it a facelift while adding a little funk.
“I have taken inspiration from many different BBQ restaurants, bars, Pinterest (of course), music venues, and added my own flair.”
Brown said anyone who wants a peek at what’s going on inside the restaurant can see updates on interior renovations on the Dolan’s Bar-B-Que Facebook and Instagram pages.
Jim Healy may be reached at (912) 489-9402.