Kirby’s becomes KK’s BBQ
By Alexandra Cannon, Staff Writer
Kirby’s BBQ has been a favorite eatery for citizens of Groesbeck, Mexia and beyond for over 30 years. Instead of closing its doors when he decided to retire, Kirby passed the gauntlet to Kent Kendall and KK’s BBQ was born.
“I've been working with [Kirby] like a month and a half, early in the mornings, I'd get here for meats at 5 and then I’d go to beans at 8,” Kendall said. “I got a lot of training from him so I'm pretty comfortable with it.”
Kendall and Kirby have been friends for years, and he remembers the conversation early one morning that led to him taking ownership of the beloved BBQ joint. He had reached out to Kirby for help cooking a few briskets to take down to Houston, where he and some others would be singing for and feeding combat veterans at Camp Hope. After hearing who the briskets were for, Kirby cooked them free of charge.
“I met him up here about 6:00 one morning and watched him cook for a while. He said 'I know you used to be in the restaurant business. Have you thought about getting back into it?’ I said not really, what are you talking about? He was ready to retire. My wheels started turning for about two weeks and I prayed on it and it just seemed right.”
Kendall reached out to his daughter, Caroline, about the opportunity, as she is studying business at Sam Houston State University.
“One random day we were talking on the phone like normal and he asked me,‘how would you feel about me buying Kirby’s?’,” Caroline recalled. “I thought he was crazy at first, but he was actually on to something great! We prayed about it and literally everything fell into place after that.”
Kendall made his daughter co-owner and together, the two have plans to put their stamp on the BBQ business. Many aspects you know and love will remain the same, but the changes made in the week KK’s has been open have been well received.
“The meat is cooked the same way. All the side recipes are the same, the pie is exactly the same. He [Kirby] gave me the recipe on his grandmother's potato salad,” Kendall said. “The sauce is something I came up with and it's gotten real good reviews. Everybody's really liked it, I've not had one complaint so far. I was really worried about that because you don't want to change success, but I had to on that one because it was a family recipe.”
To read more of this story, pick up a copy of Thursday's edition of The Groesbeck Journal! You can also subscribe online or call 254-729-5103.