Ole South Barbeque, 3523 Kentucky 54, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
And this week, Greg Floyd is marking eight years as its owner.
Like other restaurants, Ole South has taken a hit from the coronavirus pandemic.
But Floyd said, “We’re still rolling. Weddings are picking back up. We’ve catered them in Smith’s Grove, Bowling Green and Boonville, Indiana, in the past month.”
With the holiday season fast approaching, he said, “I’m anxious to see how the holidays will go. I’m afraid a lot of families won’t be able to get together.”
Floyd said, “We lost a lot of company picnics this summer. But this is going to end. We just don’t know when. Back in the spring, I thought it would last two or three weeks. But it could still be here this time next year.”
Ole South cooks its meat all night over a bed of hickory wood.
The doors open at 6 a.m. seven days a week.
And they don’t close until 8 p.m. during the week and 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
“We have a breakfast buffet, a lunch buffet and a dinner buffet,” Floyd said.
He said, “All barbecue in Owensboro is about the same, but we really emphasize pulled pork — chopped and sliced. Ninety% of our customers are familiar with Kentucky barbecue. But we have to explain it to some. People from out of the area aren’t familiar with burgoo. We have to explain the ingredients.”
The restaurant puts a heavy emphasis on home cooking, Floyd said.
“We sell a lot of fried chicken,” he said. “It’s crazy how many sides we sell. We make our own cobblers too. On Fridays and Saturdays, we have fiddlers and fillets.”
Floyd said, “We can seat 100 normally, but we’re at 50 now because of COVID restrictions.”
Mid-mornings are usually downtime at the restaurants.
But it’s 9:30 a.m. as Floyd talks about the restaurant.
And the place is about at capacity.
“Carry out, drive-through and catering are doing well,” Floyd said. “But we’re using individual containers for catering now. We used to use big trays of food. Some still want them, but most want the individual containers now.”
He said, “Some of our regulars are here five and six times a week. We lost Charlie Mattingly recently. He was in here twice a day most days.”
Floyd said, “Our best sellers are chopped mutton and pulled pork. Mutton is still popular with locals.”
Brisket, smoked turkey and ham also sell well, he said.
Twenty-five years ago when Ole South opened, it was out in the country.
Since then, the Kentucky 54 area has been the fastest-growing part of the county.
“I love the east side,” Floyd said. “This is a great location.”
Before the pandemic, Ole South had about 40 employees.
But that’s dropped into the low 30s today.
When he bought Ole South in 2012, Floyd was entering the restaurant business for the first time.
“I was in the automobile business and I wanted to do something else,” he said. “So I bought this. It needed some attention when I bought it. But it’s been good for us.”
Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301 email@example.com