Owensboro may be known as Kentucky’s BBQ capitol, but local restaurateurs and 3M buddies are ready to challenge the title.
For such a small community as Cynthiana, the choices of dinning out are not really all that slim.
There is pizza, burger chains, chicken, Mexican, Chinese and of course country cooking.
What more could one ask for in a county of around 18,000 people?
Robert “Bobby” Lucas and Randy “Rancho” McIntoch asked the very same question just before they made the decision to open Harrison County’s own exclusive BBQ restaurant.
Rancho Bob’s, located in the old Edwardo’s building beside Lee’s, has been tastefully transformed into a country BBQ setting worthy of any big city venue.
“Originally we wanted to open a little country-style bar, but quickly changed our minds to something more suitable for our community’s taste,” said Lucas. “So we started thinking about opening some kind of restaurant instead.”
As Lucas and his partner McIntoch pondered what kind of restaurant they would try their hand at, a plan began to fall into their laps nearly overnight.
“I was driving around one day and saw the old building beside Lee’s and started thinking about what we could put in there,” said Lucas. “We got the keys to the building and looked around and it hit us both.”
Lucas said the food they would prepare would be the very food that he and his partner had come to love... barbecue.
“So we knew what kind of food we would serve but now came the first hard part, transforming an old pizza place into a BBQ restaurant,” explained McIntoch. “I’m not going to lie, the building was in terrible shape from not being used and simply not caring on the part of the former users.”
After countless hours of handcrafted work and upgrades to the kitchen, the place took the form of a respectable barbecue restaurant setting.
“Abby Hehr and my sister, Janell Delaney, spent an enormous amount of volunteer hours inside this place to make it look the way it does,” said McIntoch. “All the lamps were handcrafted and a lot of the wood décor was given the aged look by them. Without them, the place would have never opened on time.”
Now that the place looked the part of a nice BBQ restaurant, only one thing was missing... the food.
“We actually hired two culinary-graduated chefs, one of which is from here, from Lexington to come in and design and prepare the food,” explained Lucas. “We wanted that favorite country taste in our dishes, but also make it look professional.”
Lucas and McIntoch both agreed that the first week brought with it many learning curves for the staff and owners.
“We are still working all the bugs out,” said Lucas. “It’s just growing pains and all restaurants have them when they are starting from nothing.”
However, customers still make their way into the new BBQ restaurant each day to devour the fast growing favorites that Rancho Bobs has to offer.
“We are getting better about food prep time and making sure if you’re a lunch customer you get your food quick,” said Lucas. “We are night and day from when we first opened. It just takes time to make the changes to make as many customers happy as possible.”
Lucas added that all dishes are prepared fresh daily with a limited amount of product to ensure top quality food to all the customers.
Both Lucas and McIntoch both expressed their appreciation to the community for being so supportive and patient.
“Hopefully we are giving something to the public that they usually drive out of town to get,” said Lucas. “Now people won’t have to travel to have good BBQ and it is only going to get better from here on out.”
Lucas and McIntoch added that the new business has also provided 40 new jobs to the community.
Lucas said that more plans are in the making for weekly specials.
“Like I said, it just takes time to iron everything out, but we plan on growing it a little including selling meat by the pound and specials during the week. But all in time,” said Lucas.
Rancho Bob’s working hours are Monday through Thursday 10:30 a.m., until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday from 10:30 a.m., until midnight. Friday and Saturday only the bar will be open after 10 p.m. Closed on Sunday.
For more information on Rancho Bobs contact them at 569-3073 or visit them on Facebook.