By Josh Shepherd, News writer
When Dr. Bob’s Barbecue Restaurant opens to the public next Wednesday, it will be all that Bob Reid can do not to constantly ask people how they like his sauces.
He’s always looking for ways to improve.
Retired from his regular job, which Reid jokingly describes as being a “chemist for hire,” he decided to take his fascination with creating new barbecue sauces to the market place.
“Most of the barbecue sauces I’ve bought in the grocery taste exactly the same. Halfway down the ingredient list, you get to stuff that I probably worked with in my other jobs,” Reid said.
In his personal time, he’s experimented with making a variety of sauces that appeal to his personal tastes. He uses no corn syrup or so-called flavor enhancers like MSG. His recipes are created using regular ingredients - honey, chipotle peppers, garlic and onion. The stuff people find in his home or, now, at the store.
Janet Barnes, his partner in this venture, said that she was always tasting the sauces Bob made in the kitchen.
Prior to embarking on this new direction, Reid spent 41 years working as a chemist with various companies. He’s been in Kalamazoo and Atlanta, Cynthiana and Tennessee.
“I returned to Cynthiana about four years ago. I’ve been thinking a long time about whether a restaurant is worth the investment of time and energy,” Reid said.
He admits to being nervous about starting out. He’s never managed a restaurant before and plans to lean heavily on his assistant manager Kelsie Slone, a young woman with managerial experience at the fast food level and who is enrolled in a web-based degree program with the Escoffier School of the Culinary Arts.
Reid said he has received encouragement from people in the local area. He’s spent months catering his barbecue creations to the Cynthiana Fire Department and the staff and residents of Cedar Ridge.
There are about 11 different barbecue sauces in his repertoire, but for the time being, Dr. Bob’s Barbecue will feature the five that appear to have the greatest appeal from his early customers.
On the menu he has the following sauces listed: Dr. Bob’s Favorite, Carolina Tangy, Sweet Carolina, House Recipe, which is Reid’s first barbecue sauce and one that seems consistently popular with tasters, and a Honey Brown Sugar that he said is a big hit with the Cedar Ridge staff.
“The feedback I’ve received in the last few years has been good enough for me to take this leap,” Reid said.
The dominant feature of Dr. Bob’s menu will be the barbecue. He is prepared to offer the meats in any fashion customer’s prefer. There will be Texas style brisket, baby back ribs, St. Louis style ribs, and even Kentucky-style pulled barbecue, though probably not western Kentucky style mutton.
Unless, of course, there’s customer demand for it.
There will be other menu choices for those who are not barbecue fans. Popular comfort food with a touch of Dr. Bob’s unique flavors.
Among Dr. Bob’s other menu choices, Reid was particularly excited about serving their authentic Chicago-style hot dog.
“My mother is from Chicago. She can’t wait to try this hot dog,” Barnes said.
With just a few days left to go before their grand opening, Reid, Barnes, and Slone are up to their elbows in paperwork and hiring wait and kitchen staff.
“We’re bringing in an impressive group of young people to help us out. We’re having a special opening day for them and their parents Wednesday. Then a week later, it all begins,” Reid said.