Established in the early 1950s, the BBQ Hut has been and continues to be a part of the Pine Bluff community. Although it has changed ownership a few times throughout the years, it remains a well-known establishment in the city.
Made of cypress wood and offering an intimate, friendly, family atmosphere, the BBQ Hut is now owned by Pine Bluff native Berinda and husband, Louisiana native Aaron Eugene, who have since changed the name to Cheers! At the BBQ Hut. With over 30 years of experience in the food service industry, Aaron combined his love for food and cooking with Berinda’s love for people, great customer service, and knowledge of business.
The inspiration for the name change came when the new owners realized how friendly the atmosphere is. It seemed to the owners that every person that came into the restaurant knew someone there or there was a type of mutual relationship. That led the owners to compare the experience to the 80s television sitcom ‘Cheers,’ where several characters made a local bar their home-away-from-home.
Because the Eugenes believe that freshness and good quality makes food taste better, many dishes are made from scratch. They source their food from local growers and meat suppliers, while sometimes getting vegetables from their community garden, planted and harvested by the two of them and other family members. “We don’t believe in feeding our customers anything we wouldn’t eat,” said Berinda. “We had originally gotten into the food business to encourage people to eat healthier, so we are passionate about giving our customers healthier alternatives to meal selections.”
Prior to owning Cheers! At the BBQ Hut, the Eugenes owned and operated a mobile food truck, ‘Kitchens on Wheels,’ which they operated from the parking lot of many big businesses like Simmons Bank, Lowe’s, and Highland Pellets. “We have gone from the food truck to the brick and mortar,” said Berinda.
While bringing flavor to the table, the restaurant offers house-smoked ribs, brisket, pork, signature potatoes, fish, hand-battered chicken fried steak, handcrafted burgers, house-made fries and chips, and various types of salads amongst many other Southern dishes. “We offer the traditional soul food with a side of health,” said Berinda.
A hot bar of homemade southern-style food has been recently added. The bar includes as many as 18 items, which change daily.
The Eugenes main focus at the restaurant is providing good hospitality and choices, a welcome change from many restaurants that focus on a main dish. “We want people to come into the restaurant and feel welcomed,” said Berinda. “We want them to feel at home. This is a place where people can come and have choices.”
The restaurant includes a meeting/private party room that seats 16 people. The Eugenes plan to soon include live music into the dining experience, while also planning to multiply its locations.
Customers enjoy dining at the restaurant. “So glad they’re back, reminds me of when I was a kid and ate here, so good and delicious,” said S. Smith.
“So glad Pine Bluff has a great place to eat and great tasting food,” said F. Scott.
Go visit Cheers at the Bar-B-Q Hut at 2203 West 26th Ave., Pine Bluff, Arkansas.