BELOIT - "It was inspired by a father's love."
That's how Cornelius Turner explained the origin of a soon-to-open Beloit restaurant featuring Southern comfort foods. Turner, of Milwaukee, will be bringing his heritage, cooking expertise and entrepreneurship to Beloit when he opens Ribs, Reubens & More on Feb. 1 at 2091 Shopiere Road, the former home of Vince's Gourmet Hot Dogs.
The restaurant will offer ribs, Reubens, brisket, shrimp, pulled pork, jerk chicken, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, cabbage, fried okra, sweet cornbread, rice and beans and more. Turner, who loves chatting with customers, hopes to also bring some entertainment to Beloit when he has his nephew, Antoine McNeal, perform in an upcoming comedy event.
With a motto of "You try before you buy it," customers can look forward to trying free samples before they commit to a meal.
Turner said he loves hospitality, holding doors and having conversation for conversation's sake.
"This is where you are going to get comfort food and feel at home and where everyone will know your name," he said.
The hours for Ribs, Reubens & More will be 11:30 a.m. - 7 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Turner's sister, Angela Turner, will be working alongside him.
The business offers lots of witty T-shirts designed by Turner, with lively topics ranging from spirituality to politics and sometimes both mixed together.
"God asked Noah to build an ark, the devil asked Trump to build a wall," reads one of his T-shirts.
Others talk about prayer being cheaper than therapy.
Turner has a long and rich history which led him to his many business ventures.
He grew up in the Milwaukee area, the son of the late Earnest C. Turner and Katherine Turner, with two brothers and four sisters. His mother had family in Evergreen, Alabama, and Turner learned the best cooking techniques for Southern delicacies such as catfish, ribs, smothered chicken and pork chops, greens and cabbage, peach cobbler, pies and more. Turner always had an entrepreneurial bent, and by age 16, his father helped him buy his first property.
His father's belief and trust in him propelled Turner to do great things in business. By age 23, he owned 12 homes with no mortgages and had learned how to do electrical, plumbing and drywall work. He later bought and ran Bob's Custard for several years.
Some of Turner's pursuits got put on hold for a bit in the early 2000s when his father took ill, and he cared for him more than six years. Turner also took on caretaking duties for his brother, the late Michael Adell Turner, who suffered complications stemming from getting run over by a truck.
Nothing seemed to slow Turner's penchant for business though. After his brother had fallen and injured himself, Turner invented Step and See, a light and alarm attachment for walkers and canes which would be sold to nursing homes and rehabilitation centers.
Before his father passed away, he told Turner it was time for him to start living and pursuing his dreams again. In the coming years Turner started his next ventures, remodeling elderly people's homes, operating a food truck and providing food to deliver to daycares.
He went on to rent his renovated homes to assisted living businesses which would care for the mentally ill and elderly in homelike environments.
Turner had been traveling to Beloit for the past five years with his daycare food service business when Beloiters started sampling his cooking and demanding more. After hitting it off with the landlord at 2091 Shopiere Road, Turner decided it was time to open a restaurant.
After so many ventures and busy city life, Turner said he's ready to settle down a bit and find a home in Beloit to start his next chapter.