Strong growth leads to owner eyeing expansion

Martha Janousek, owner of Mama J's BBQ and Grill, does not relish the fact business has steadily grown since her restaurant opened more than a year ago, or that her customers firmly believe her barbecue is the among the best in the area. Instead, Janousek said the businesses' most important attribute is its contributions to local charities and community organizations in Montgomery County.

"One of the things I want to do through the restaurant is [to ensure] that it's really a foundation for a lot of my charity work," Janousek said.

Janousek, who is a native Texan and has lived in The Woodlands area for more than 20 years with her husband, provides catered meals to the walkers at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Light the Night Walk, as well as to senior citizens at the Friendship Center.

"I have a special place in my heart for senior citizens," Janousek said.

As a first-time restaurant owner, Janousek said, there has been a lot she has learned about the businesses in a little over a year. But one thing she has not done is veer from the menu standards that have become customer favorites over the past year.

Since opening in December 2011, Mama J's has earned a loyal customer base thanks to its brisket and popular cheesy potatoes. She said Mama J's puts as much emphasis on its quality sides as it does into its barbecue.

Business has done so well, in fact, that Janousek is planning an expansion in the next few months.

"We've been very fortunate," Janousek said. "We made it our first year and that's a biggie."

3091 College Park Dr., Ste. 280, The Woodlands, 936-273-9444,