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Posted: June 30, 2010 12:30 a.m.

Supporter Spotlight: Cowboy's BBQ

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Steve and Vicki Deal were products of the economy. Like so many others in the country, they found themselves without jobs after years of hard work. However, the couple decided to take matters into their own hands and started their own barbecue restaurant in Social Circle.

"We had always cooked for family and friends over the years. People had been telling us we needed to open our own restaurant," Steve Deal said. "There aren’t a lot of choices out here — most people have to drive to Covington to get their variety."

Cowboy’s BBQ opened last Wednesday and quickly sold out of food within hours of its grand opening.

"We cooked double on Thursday and sold out before we closed. We doubled that amount on Friday and Saturday and still sold out. It’s a learning process," Deal said. "We planned on serving breakfast when we first started, but we’re already trying to keep up with the lunch and dinner crowds, so we had to drop the idea. Eventually, as the business grows, we’ll add breakfast to the menu."

Cowboy’s BBQ is a unique restaurant that compliments the local agricultural backdrop. Designed as a corral, customers are treated to an Old West theme. Children will have the opportunity to be deputized by the restaurant. These ‘deputies’ will receive a cookie each time they return to the restaurant wearing their deputy shields. Parents can submit their e-mail address to the restaurant to join a newsletter, appropriately titled "Posse," and receive coupons and deals.

One of the restaurant’s signatures is its method of preparing food. The meats are grilled and smoked in a smokehouse right on the premises. Unlike most restaurants that use briquettes to cook their meat, Deal uses oak, maple and apple hardwood lump charcoal imported from Tennessee.

"Typically, there are chemicals involved with briquettes. With the lump charcoal, there are no chemicals cooked into our meats," Deal said.

The restaurant also sells their own brand of sweets, preserves, pecan syrups and nationally-ranked hot sauces.

Deal has ambitious plans for his restaurant. He plans to add events and live bluegrass and folk music as the restaurant progresses. If successful, Deal wants to duplicate the business and create a franchise. Until then, he is going to try to keep up with the current demand.

"Unfortunately, last week there were some customers who couldn’t get what they wanted because we ran out. That won’t happen again," Deal promised. "Due to the time and effort in preparing food, there may be times we will run out. But if I have to double the capacity of the smoker, I will."

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