Barbecue On The River causes phenomenon at restaurants miles away


Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Justin Jones

BARDWELL, Ky. - You might be surprised by restaurant trends occurring miles away from Barbecue On The River. 

Nearly 40,000 people will descend upon Paducah, Kentucky to consume 80,000 pounds of barbecue at the barbecue event.  It grabs so much attention, you might think other barbecue businesses not set up downtown, would lose business.

Think again.

Barbecue restaurant owners say business is booming this time of year.  Whether it's a conscious or subconscious decision by customers, barbecue business is always better the week of the event.

Don't blink. You might miss Prince's Pit Barbecue stand in Bardwell.

But if you do, Ricky Prince probably won't miss you.  That's because he's busy.

"It's one of my busiest weekends next to Thanksgiving and Christmas," Prince said.

He probably has all the media buzz to thank.

"They advertise it on TV and get people hungry for it," Prince said.

Customer Curtis Alliston said it's just coincidence, not coverage of the big event causing his craving.

But the numbers don't lie, Prince has to put extra pork on the pit just to keep up with daily demand, that grows as the weekend approaches.

"I usually cook four extra cases that's 42 extra butts, I do extra cases of ribs and chicken," Prince said.

Alliston came just in time, because Prince is almost out of pork, and Alliston doesn't like big crowds.

"I'm always one of the ones that's tried to stay away, kind of why I don't go to Paducah much," Alliston said.

That's why Prince won't be going to Paducah, either.

Prince said he was featured in a couple of cookbooks, won a competition, and was also on a television show.

All that publicity plus 23 years of 'word of mouth' has helped him build a solid customer base that keep coming back for more.

The owner of Knoth's Barbecue in Grand Rivers, Kentucky said business is booming at his place, too.

The owner of 17th Street Barbecue in Marion and Murphysboro, Illinois said the event doesn't effect her business.