MIDDLEPORT — Opening a barbecue restaurant is a dream come true for Brenda Kephart.
Born and raised in Medina, Brenda Portasica Kephart has always loved to cook, something she says she inherited from her mother. The love of barbecue stems from her mother's southern influence, as she grew up in West Virginia.
Kephart longed to share her recipes with others and started experimenting with a small smoker outside her home. Family and friends became her tasters and their comments were so positive, in 2013, Kephart decided to go to a barbecue school in Texas. The drive to Houston took 23 hours, but she came away with an even stronger commitment to follow her passion.
Her first step was to open a barbecue trailer, which she operated in Medina for five years, before making the leap to a sit-down restaurant. She would set up in different locations and found she had faithful followers who showed up no matter where she was.
“I had many regulars,” Kephart said. “When they walked up, I knew what they wanted and had it ready for them.”
That prompted her decision to look for a brick-and-mortar location. Her opportunity came when she was able to purchase the building at 105 Telegraph Road in the village.
Husband Bob, son Jim and several other friends and family members helped Kephart remodel the building in time for a Labor Day weekend opening of B&B BBQ. The sign out front teases "the best smoked butts in town."
All but two of Kephart's employees are family members. All of the recipes are her own.
"I find a recipe and then I tweak it to make it mine,” Kephart said.
One of her specialties and a favorite of customers is Brunswick stew. It is also her husband’s favorite, with pulled pork, pulled chicken, corn, lima beans, peas and tomatoes in a vinegary barbecue broth.
Other favorites on the B&B menu are a pulled pork wrap with barbecue sauce, shredded cheese, ranch dressing and Kephart's original cucumber jalapeno salsa; smoked chicken wings; brisket; and corn bread.
Kephart said she will introduce new menu items over time.
The Kepharts are grateful for the service of law enforcement and U.S. military personnel, and to show their respect, any member of the forces who shows up in uniform will receive his or her meal free of charge.
For more information, call (585) 590-0173.