At age 19 many teenagers are focused on going to college and sewing their wild oats. Nate Jones was busy establishing his own restaurant in Yadkinville.
Jones opened Nate’s Place on East Elm Street in Yadkinville nearly a year ago. Today, he says his days never consist of work because he loves what he does.
Jones was born in Catawba County where his family resided until he was four years old. His father then moved the family to Yadkinville after he felt a calling to serve as the pastor of Yadkin Church of Christ.
Jones and his brother were home schooled by their mother, and Jones said this brought his family closer together.
“I really liked homeschooling,” Jones said. “I didn’t have to deal with all the drama that goes on in public schools. A lot of people think that I didn’t have any friends because I was home schooled, but I had just as many friends as I would have had if I had been in public school.”
At age 14 Jones took on his first job at Tammy’s Toasted Hot Dogs. This is where he developed his love for short order restaurants and his desire to establish his own restaurant, preferably in that same location.
“I would always joke around that I wanted this restaurant, not any restaurant, but this one,” Jones said. “I never thought I would ever get it.”
After Jones finished his high school diploma he signed up for a semester at Surry Community College. He quickly learned that the college setting was not for him and that he would have to pursue other options.
“I worked at another restaurant for about a year and then I left,” Jones said. “Then I went to work at Kaplan Student Supply in Lewisville for about a year, and factory work was not for me. I like to meet and talk to people.”
After deciding that none of these directions were right for him Jones realized it was time to pursue his dream of starting his own restaurant. Much to his excitement the former location of Tammy’s Toasted Hot Dogs had gone on the market and he had the opportunity to start his business where he had always dreamed.
“I was 19 years old and everybody was doubtful that it could work with me owning my own business, so it made me want to get it right,” Jones said.
Many people doubted Jones even more when he announced that he would close the restaurant on Wednesday nights and the better portion of Sundays in order to attend church.
“They said I wouldn’t be able to make it if I wasn’t open on Sundays,” said Jones, who attends Yadkinville Church of God. “I told people that if I couldn’t make it and still go to church then I don’t need to be in that line of business. I haven’t had to compromise on it at all.”
Jones said that the most difficult part of owning a business for him is keeping up with stock, paperwork and keeping everything up to code. These things are balanced by all of the new people he gets to meet. Jones said that his father also helps him manage the business side of the restaurant.
“A lot of the business I credit to my dad because he is really good at that kind of stuff,” Jones said.
When Jones isn’t working he is dedicating his time to his church and music. Jones can play guitar and drums. His favorite genre to play is praise and worship music.
“My grandpa got me into [guitar] because he built me my first electric guitar and so he always wanted me to play,” Jones said. “He got sick and had to move in with us and that’s when he started teaching me how to play. I just picked it up from there and got to where I really enjoy it.”
Jones also announced his calling to the ministry about three years ago. He hopes that he can lead by example as a minister and business owner.
“I would like to be able to help people through example by showing that you can live a Christian lifestyle and still make it professionally,” Jones said. “You can own a business and still have some kind of moral system and not let it consume all of your time.”
Jones said that he has big plans for his restaurant business in the future. He hopes to get a food trailer and start serving at festivals, with his ultimate goal to serve his food at the Dixie Classic Fair one year.
“I’ve been looking for a trailer to cook out of and they are really expensive and hard to come by,” Jones said.
He also hopes to open one or two more restaurants. Jones said that he plans to stick with short order style food and he would like to stay in a rural area.
“I want to stay close,” Jones said. “I like the small town side of it. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere big like Winston-Salem because I don’t think that would suit me.”
Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.