Oldest restaurant in Marshall County goes to auction
BENTON, KY – After nearly 30 years, change is coming to Marshall County’s oldest restaurant. Hutchens BBQ is up for auction.
The current owners, Kevin and Rhonda Knees, have owned it for 27 years, but Hutchens BBQ has been around since 1947.
“There’s just a lot of history and strong strong, strong local community support,” said Kevin. “The same people eat here every day, all the time.”
For 71 years, people have sat down for a meal there. It was first owned by W.C. Hutchens. Then, Rhonda’s parents bought it.
“I started off working in the kitchen when I was 9,” Rhonda said. “I was a dish washer.” She grew up in this restaurant, and in 1991, she and her husband took over.
They said they served food even during the ice storm. “The restaurant is so old that is was on the same electrical grid as the old hospital,” said Kevin. “So, as soon as the hospital came up, Hutchens came up. Well, when Hutchens came up, it was the only place to eat.”
This restaurant means something to everybody. For Gary Fulton, he gets to see his mom every time he comes in. “My mother worked here when W.C. was here. I’d say in the 50s and 60s,” he said. A photo of her is hanging in the restaurant.
Customers were shocked a few months ago when Hutchens went up for sale. Months later, no offers have been made. “We always felt for 27 years that when we put it up for sale that it would sell very quickly. We always thought that,” said Kevin. “We’re pretty shocked ourselves.”
They say it’s time for them to retire. Customers hope that the small details won’t fade away with a new owner.
“If a young couple or a middle aged couple would get this and stay with it, they’d have a good career here, I’d think,” Fulton said.
For now, you can come on in and hang up your coat and enjoy Hutchens in it’s original form while it lasts.
They will be open for business until it sells. The auction will begin at 10 a.m. on April 3 at Hutchens BBQ in Benton.