Hickory River Smokehouse Franchise Overview
About Hickory River Smokehouse
Real Texas-style barbecue. There’s nothing better, and no better place to get it than Hickory River Smokehouse. Founded in 1995, this casual-style restaurant chain is all about the food. After applying a special blend of seasonings (known as “dry rub”) to the highest quality beef brisket, chicken, turkey, and pork, they slowly smoke it for hours and hours over a hickory-wood fire to create the most tender, flavorful meats you’ve ever sunk your teeth into. It’s A TASTE AS BIG AS TEXAS, and why you’ll see businessmen in suits, laborers in work boots, college professors and students, teenage kids, housewives and seniors regularly visiting their many locations. Add to this straight forward, well-documented operational, business management and marketing/advertising support, and extraordinary sales opportunities with their in-store, drive-through, carry-out and off-premise catering, and you have one of the hottest franchises in the country. If it’s not Hickory River Smokehouse, it’s not barbecue.
After working on cruise ships in Hawaii and attending college to be a civil engineer, Brad realized that his passion was to work in the restaurant business, with the goal of bringing this unique style of barbecue to the Midwest. The Bowmans opened their first location on January 16, 1995 in Urbana, Illinois, under the name Longhorn Smokehouse. The venture was a total family effort, with family members all joining in to help and to make recipes together. A success from the start, the Bowmans opened a second location in Bloomington, Illinois two years later. They then sold that location to build a larger restaurant in Urbana to accommodate the high demand. At that time they changed the name of the Urbana restaurant to Hickory River Smokehouse to better reflect the unique barbecue concept, and to avoid any confusion with a steakhouse chain. The location in Bloomington still operates as Longhorn Smokehouse.
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