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It’s Always Porch Thirty
in Downtown Jonesboro

Story by Audrey Hanes, Photography by Brittney Guest Osborn

Porch Thirty, an outdoor restaurant experience that is family and canine friendly, recently brought a well-received new concept to the Downtown Jonesboro community. With a unique menu that serves up traditional Southern fare with a twist and an outdoor dining area that has games and activities for the whole family, owners Mat Clark and Heather Walker-Clark and Brian and Sarah Nobles have joined forces to bring their beloved community something truly special.

“Mat and I wanted to and had discussed doing a ‘beer garden’ downtown on our property for a few years because we thought it would fit nicely with our other businesses, especially the hotel; we had actually tried to talk a few others into doing one on our property, but nothing stuck,” said Heather, who owns and operates The Glass Factory, Intersect 311 and several other businesses along Huntington Avenue with her husband. “Then, during the COVID shutdown, Mat and I spent many late afternoons sitting on our front porch, enjoying a craft beer, discussing ideas about business, and decided the time was now or never to do it. Since no one else wanted to, we would just do it.

“We immediately started planning for the business and developing the land. We started coordinating with city officials on requirements and code. We started working with our marketing team, POLISH, to design a logo and branding. Many names were floated, but when it came down to it, this business was created on our front porch during a time that had become known to us as ‘Porch:30,’ so it just made sense to call it Porch Thirty.”

The Clarks own the property via their real-estate investment company, Innovative Investments, so they maintain the restaurant and outdoor space itself. And while they also handle the business operations for Porch Thirty and serve as back up staff when needed, the Clarks knew they’d need partners in the food aspect of the business. They knew right away they wanted to work with longtime local chef Sarah Nobles.

“We needed partners that knew food, and that is exactly what we got in Sarah Nobles,” said Heather. “Her food is like art. She is amazing. Sarah and Brian both bring years of restaurant experience, too, and Brian makes killer cocktails and runs a tight ship. They were and are the perfect partners for me and Mat. They are great people, and we really enjoy them so much. The four of us make a great team, because as individuals, we all have different skill sets we bring to the table that all work toward the same goal – to create a great atmosphere for all people, serve the best food and treat our customers like rock stars.”

Sarah and Brian have decades of local restaurant experience and are passionate about the Downtown Jonesboro community, so Porch Thirty was a perfect fit.

“When Heather contacted us, we were excited to get back to our home downtown,” said Sarah. “We have always loved an outdoor space. We ourselves want a place to take our family, and have it be a cool place to hang out with friends, kids and dogs.”

“We have lived down here for most of our lives, and worked down here most of it, too,” added Brian. “We have seen the power of this community when people come together and help each other out. It’s a family. We are really happy to be here.

“The curb appeal and location fit well with what we wanted to do. There’s something about having a small concept menu that appealed to us. We were really happy to be able to design our own menu and have a bit more control over it. We have artistic and creative freedom with this venue.”

As for the culinary offerings of the new restaurant, Sarah was inspired to create a menu full of unique takes on Southern favorites.

“We do Southern fusion,” said Sarah. “I do a modern twist on old Southern classics, like the Korean BBQ Sandwich is like a sloppy joe, and we have chicken and waffles, but with curry.”

Brian says that Sarah has been cooking with Asian and Middle Eastern influences at home for a long time now, so when the time came to create Porch Thirty’s menu, she took the reins and came up with items that can’t be found elsewhere in Jonesboro.

“At the same time, we had to think about not just what would taste good, but what would work in a space like this, which is a challenge, because this kitchen is more of a food truck experience,” said Brian.

The result was an array of flavorful entrees and sides with gluten free-friendly, vegan and vegetarian options. One of the most popular items is the Curry Chicken and Waffle, which is served open face on a curry waffle with sliced red onions, spring mix and savory, spicy syrup. The Rice Bowl is also a favorite and is comprised of jasmine rice, spring mix, red cabbage and carrot slaw, edamame and a sesame ginger dressing, with the option of adding chicken or roasted pork.

Future plans include getting their liquor license and even growing some of their own vegetables and herbs, such as the rosemary that goes in their homemade lemonade.

“I enjoy the freedom of being a business owner,” said Brian. “It’s challenging, but I get to work with my wife every day, and I like getting to wear a lot of hats. Every day is something different. It’s never boring, and I love that.”

But the food is just one of the things that makes a visit to Porch Thirty an experience. The large outdoor space, which first opened on Feb. 25, is full of family-friendly games and activities, and man’s best friend is welcome, too.

“There was no place where people could hang outside and bring their dogs and let their kiddos run wild,” said Heather. “Now, there is such a place, and the adults can have fun, too. We have BAGGO, giant Jenga, giant chess (and) horseshoes, as well as kid activities and a chalkboard wall on our fence for kids to express their artistic creativity. Porch Thirty is the only place your kiddos can run, throw, kick, scream, chase and be as loud as they want, and no one will say a word.

“It is an outdoor oasis for friends, food and fun. Bring the whole family – and the dogs, too – eat great food, play outside, drink a craft beer or one of Brian’s specialty cocktails, build a fire (and) roast marshmallows. It’s a restaurant, but all outdoors. It’s like going to a cookout or a block party, but available every day.”

Porch Thirty is located at 401 W. Huntington Ave. and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with expanded hours beginning May 22. For more information, find Porch Thirty on Facebook, visit porchthirty.com or call (870) 206-7682.

 

Grand Opening Celebration

Porch Thirty will host its grand opening celebration on May 22 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with special activities planned throughout the day.

A Spring Fest Farmer’s Market hosted by the Downtown Jonesboro Alliance will be held in the parking lot. Activities for children, live music and on-site demonstrations are also planned for the event.

The celebration will conclude that evening with a private farm-to-table dinner hosted by DJA from 6-8 p.m. Porch Thirty will kick off the evening with appetizers during cocktail hour, with Chef John Myers of The Parsonage serving as the featured chef for the farm-to-table dinner. The event will reopen to the public for live music from 8-10 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets to the private dinner, email Lindsey Wingo at info@downtownjonesboro.com.