Ribs, catfish and all-you-can-eat buffet at Bubby’s BBQ
“WE’RE REALLY PROUD OF OUR RIBS,” says Mike Shepherd, who helps run his brother’s restaurant, Bubby’s BBQ in Corbin. Owned by Marcus “Bubby” Shepherd and his wife, Michelle, Mike says Bubby always loved to cook and started the restaurant 12 years ago.
Mike says Bubby’s BBQ has two or three cooks, but all the recipes are cooked the way that Bubby came up with for the menu.
“The pulled pork and ribs are what we’re known for, and the fried catfish,” says Mike. “If we run out of fish, we’d have to lock the door. It’s never happened.”
The barbecue is smoked 10–12 hours nightly, using mostly local hickory wood. “The thing that surprises most people are how good the ribs are. People are shocked there is a rib that large on the buffet, a St. Louis pork rib.” Bubby’s smokes chicken and sausage, too. And around the holidays, they smoke turkeys and hams.
Bubby’s BBQ is also known for its all-you-can-eat buffets—there’s a lunch bar for $8.99 and dinner bar for $11.99, which includes the salad bar and dessert bar. On Sunday, for $11.99 you get a breakfast bar, including the lunch, salad and dessert bars.
“We have Frog Leg Fridays and meatloaf on Sunday,” he says. “The wings and barbecue are favorites. There’s country fried steak on Wednesday and Saturday, and smoked chicken on Thursday and Friday.” Country fried steak is sometimes offered on Wednesday and Saturday. He says the bread pudding, pasta salad and chicken ’n dumplings are also favorites.
While 70–80% of the people get the buffet, others prefer to order from the menu, things like cheeseburgers, Philly’s, barbecue and catfish sandwiches and platters.
Bubby’s even offers a carryout buffet, $7.99 a pound. “Some days, 30% or more of our business is from the to-go buffet,” says Mike. “We have to-go boxes and cups and people come in and get a pint of baked beans or coleslaw.”
Dessert favorites include the peach and apple cobblers and banana pudding. “We make cakes every day. The lady who does our dessert bar, people go crazy for her brownies.”
While the food takes center stage, Mike says what makes Bubby’s BBQ unique is how people feel when they are there. “People tell us that they feel like family. They come here because of how nice everyone treats them. … If we don’t see someone in a week or so, we call them. A lot of our customers are like family.”
Mike says the restaurant helps a lot of the local teams, such as having fundraiser breakfasts for them. “We offer catering; we do a lot of weddings, picnics and reunions,” he says. “We also have people who will call and order catering to pick up. We sell a lot of coleslaw—we sell it by the gallons.”
The restaurant attracts many hometown guests. Many bring their entire families; some folks will come four or five times a week, he says. “We get a lot more travelers in the summer. We have people who drive 45-minutes to an hour, 30% of our business on Sunday is from Somerset. We have people who plan their vacation—we’re closed Monday and Tuesday—so they are coming through here on a day when we are open.”
The restaurant, served by Cumberland Valley Electric, employs 25 and can seat 180. It offers on-site or pickup catering.
Bubby’s BBQ, 2700 Cumberland Falls Highway, is open 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Wednesday–Saturday and 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Sunday.