Richard’s Bar-B-Que will close after 42 years of food service
Posted at 12:10 a.m. on Sunday, July 3, 2022
SALISBURY — Whether it’s feeding Bill Clinton or becoming almost a second home for some patrons, Richard’s Bar-B-Que’s will close for good at the end of the month.
Owner Richard Monroe has sold the building to Rowan-Salisbury Schools and he hopes it will be put to good use for staff meetings or things like cooking classes.
“I really have to thank Paul Fisher for connecting me with the schools to sell this building,” Monroe said. “He has always helped me financially with the place and I want him to get that recognition.”
Monroe’s journey began in 1970 when he worked for T&F Barbecue, which was part-owned by his father. He became director in 1975 when he was 16 years old. He then took over as owner in 1979. The restaurant moved to a gated trailer park property which Monroe purchased. This is where the current restaurant is located, which he renamed Richard’s Bar-B-Que.
Many loyal customers are bittersweet about the closure. Charles Shuler, founder of Charles Shuler Pool Co., has been a regular customer for over 30 years. He visits occasionally for lunch, but most of the time he comes for a breakfast plate of bacon, eggs, tomatoes and lots of coffee to start his day.
“It’s become an established routine for me,” Shuler said. “I’m going to come here and relax with my Charlotte Observer puzzles at my usual spot. Me and Richard reached retirement age together. It’s like family. He deserves credit for running a business for so long. I really appreciate the work he has done.
His daily headquarters is a booth in the left rear corner of the restaurant.
Bob and Beverly Rogers are also frequent customers at Richard’s Bar-B-Que. Bob always goes for his favorite lunch item: hot dogs.
“It’s my favorite place to barbecue,” he says.
His wife told the story of Bob’s impressive record of eating nine-foot-long hot dogs in 45 minutes during Al’s Nighthawk days in Salisbury. However, after this beloved restaurant closed in 2001, they looked for another place to get quality francs. Since Richard’s doesn’t have footlongs on the menu, Bob always orders two.
“Bob had the honor of having the last hot dog at Al’s Nighthawk,” Beverly said. “We hope he will also have the last one from Richard.”
It wasn’t just about Monroe that customers had exceptional things to say. The restaurant waitresses made regulars and out-of-town visitors feel at home with their warm hospitality.
“This place is my second home,” said Dolores Boykin, a regular customer, who always likes to try something different when she walks in. “I feel welcomed, accepted and cared for here.”
Richard meant so much to Boykin that last year she was surprised to throw a party on her birthday with everyone at the restaurant.
“I feel like home here,” said waitress Robin Moore, who has worked at the restaurant for 10 years. “I know I’m going to cry when it closes. I’m just planning to take some time off and take a vacation because I know God has a plan for the future.
She also said that Monroe was practically a father figure to her. He had a playful side with his employees, setting pranks that rubbed off on the workers, who gagged each other, from remote-controlled rats to rubber snakes.
“We’re all family here and treated fairly,” said Jimmy Tutterow, who has worked in Richard’s kitchen on and off for the past 21 years.
Over the years, Richard’s has attracted a lot of out-of-state traffic, including feeding members of the Ringling Brothers Circus on a train with 11-platter barbecue platters brought to Bill Clinton during his stint in North Carolina. North. Former Governor Bev Perdue also sampled the food served on 125 china plates at a dinner party.
Additionally, the restaurant was featured in the New York Times after seeing the restaurant featured as part of the NC Barbecue Trail.
“I got to know more people than I made money,” Monroe said. “But I don’t think I’m better than anyone.”
The building was sold with all kitchen appliances still inside. Souvenirs and t-shirts will be available for purchase from July 25-30 for a souvenir of Salisbury town centre’s favorite barbecue spot.