Buddy Colson enters into joint venture with John “Jetman” Thien to run Jet Bar-B-Q

WICHITA — Instead of selling his Jet Bar-B-Q at 1100 E. Third St. as planned, John “Jetman” Thien has entered into a joint venture with Buddy Colson to run the business.

“I’ve been eating Jet’s food for, like, 30 years myself,” Colson says. “I just want to keep the food going because I know he’s wanting to retire.”

Colson most recently has been retired, but he was in the restaurant business for years before that. His last job was district manager for Arby’s in Kansas.

“He has a great deal of experience in corporate restaurants,” Thien says.

Colson is a familiar face at Jet Bar-B-Q. After eating there for just about all of the restaurant’s 32 years, he says he’s “been basically an understudy” for the last couple of years. He says Thien’s food is consistent, and he doesn’t plan to change anything about it.

He has, though, added a couple of days a week to the restaurant’s schedule. It’s now open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day but Sunday. Also, there’s no longer a drive-through down the middle of the former firehouse. Colson says it made it too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. He’s also added air conditioning to make the space more comfortable.

Colson says he’s never wanted to own his own restaurant, but he says that could be a possibility with Jet Bar-B-Q one day.

“I’ve got six kids and five grandkids, so I think we can keep it going … as long as people keep coming to support us,” Colson says.

Though he doesn’t have plans to sell right now, Thien says he knows it will come to that one day.

“Eventually I’m either going to become senile or die, I have no doubt. Which one comes first is the question.”