BENTON — Hutchens’ iconic neon sign is once again shining brightly, welcoming customers in after its grand reopening on Monday, May 1.
The March 3 storm did considerable damage to Hutchens. Left nearly unsalvageable, the wind tore the roof off of the restaurant and an incoming downpour filled the dining room with five inches of standing water. There wasn’t much of anything that was not touched by the storm. The dining room had to be completely renovated. It’s been a big change, but the team at Hutchens worked to maintain the traditional look, while also acting in favor of progress.
The well-known red booths have been exchanged with a set of sleek black booths. The floor, ceilings, walls, tabletops and lights in its neon sign have been replaced, and the bathrooms have been remodeled.
Arguably the biggest change, however, is the deconstruction of the entryway. Added in the 1970s, the entryway was not present during the days of W.C. Hutchens. To return the restaurant to its original look and allow better accessibility to its patrons, the team at Hutchens decided to nix it.
There have been many community members anxiously awaiting Hutchens’ grand-reopening during its two-month closure. Justin Lamb, manager and BBQ pitmaster, notes the support and help from the community has been overwhelming, and without that, it would have been looking at a much longer timeline for the reopening.
Many customers have offered their assistance and many of those working skilled labor jobs have also been willing to lend their services without accepting a penny in return. It has been a group effort with employees and community-members, alike, doing everything they could to get the doors open.
“It has been just like a family,” Lamb said. “We are just trying to keep the Hutchens legacy going. I could not imagine Benton, Kentucky, without Hutchens BBQ.”
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