SALISBURY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Those who work at Richard’s Bar-B-Que say lines have been out of the door this entire week, as customers get one final taste of their famous BBQ before the restaurant closes for good on Saturday.
“Order up” is a phrase the team there has been shouting for 42 years. Their cutting boards alone, severely dented from years of years of chopping smoked meat, show their age.
“For Salisbury, it’s a home. It’s a family. Most people come here every day for lunch,” said Richard’s cook James Tutterow.
The joint has served BBQ to Bill Clinton, Former Governor Bev Perdue, and even the Ringling Brothers Circus. But if you ask Richard Monroe who his favorite customers are, he’ll likely tell you it’s the regulars who he considers family.
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“The girls will ask them, ‘Would you like some coffee?” They’ll say no, and they’ll get up and get their own,” he smiled.
Despite the restaurant’s decades of history and popularity, Monroe says his age and a struggling economy told him it was time to hang up his apron.
“I hate I have to go out, but I cannot. I cannot do it anymore,” he said.
The building’s new owner is the Rowan-Salisbury School System, which bought the property for $440,000. They haven’t formally decided what they’ll do with the facility, but one option is to leave it as a kitchen for educational purposes and summer meal prep.
“What I hope for the future of this building is that it’s used for something productive – whatever that may be. And hopefully, it’s something that will contribute to the community itself,” said Tutterow.