Bar-B-Q King Celebrates 50 Years This September

Monk: In an era where North Carolina barbecue fans are more worried about classic barbecue joints closing, it’s quite heartening to see when one is instead celebrating a landmark in it’s longevity. On September 1, Lincolnton’s Bar-B-Q King (not to be confused with the BBQ King drive-thru in Charlotte) celebrates their 50th anniversary. Fifty!

In September 1971, Steve and Becky Abernethy opened a barbecue restaurant to fill a need in the local Lincolnton food landscape, serving Lexington-style barbecue and fresh hand-pattied burgers. In the early 2000s, they brought on long-time employee Keith Smith on as partner. The operation has continued to be a family deal as Steve and Becky’s daughter Stephanie as well as Keith’s sons Jordan and Jared all work there today. Stephanie and Jordan are even engaged to be married next year. It’s all quite lovely.


In celebration of their 50th anniversary on September 1st they’re throwing back the price of their regular bbq sandwich to $1.99. Any customers who visit them on September 1st will also receive a free 50th anniversary cup and sticker.

They’ll also have sweet new 50th anniversary shirts for purchase as well. I’m digging them and hope to be able to snag one myself.


I’ve visited Bar-B-Q King a couple of times over the past few years and am a huge fan. They are of course a family-owned business that serves the Lincolnton community and they’ve got this unique “hollerin’ orders” system where once orders are placed at the register they are literally yelled to the kitchen staff in the back. It’s quite the sight to behold, and they celebrate it on their cups and t-shirts – “50 years of hollerin’ orders.”

I also profiled Jordan Smith early last year if you want to get his perspective on the family business.

In a period where classic NC barbecue joints are more often than not closing, let’s take the opportunity to celebrate Bar-B-Q King. Congrats on 50 years, and here’s to another 50!

Bar-B-Q King is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 9pm. They celebrate their 50th anniversary on September 1st.


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