Roy's celebrating 35 years today
By Jim Turner

Posted on March 16, 2018 11:14 AM


One of Logan County’s most famous businesses will celebrate its 35th anniversary today. Roy’s Bar-B-Q is known throughout the region and beyond for good food, hospitality and family atmosphere.

A special celebration is planned this morning beginning at 11 with WRUS broadcasting from the Sarah Lane location from 11-11:30.

In 1983 Ralph and Jolene Morgan opened Roy’s Bar-B-Q near the entrance to the Boy Scout Camp. It wasn’t much more than a bait shop and barbecue pit. A Franklin Street location, now known as the “little pit,, opened four years later.

Pressured by growth, they moved the sit-down operation to a 50-seat location down Highway 431 North in 1990. Almost immediately, the new location was too small, as patrons shared tables and waited their turn for Roy’s now renowned barbecue.

Before his death in 1996, Ralph secured the land for their current location. Oldest son John, who works at Logan Aluminum, helped design the 3,300 square foot facility that opened on Oct. 1, 1998. Since then, it has become a mainstay for Logan Countians and a destination for tourists!

Named for the Morgans’ youngest son, Roy’s has always been a family affair. After Ralph’s death, Jolene kept the restaurant going with the help of their children, Roger Morgan, Roy Morgan, Kathy Howard and Lee Ann Harris. Not limited to the siblings, Roger’s wife Janie, Roy’s wife Michelle, and Lee Ann’s husband Harold, and the Howard and Harris children have all played a role in the growth of the company.

Son/brother Billy, a standout Panther athlete, died very young. The family lost Roger in 2010 and Jolene in 2011, but the third generation can now be found at Roy’s. Roger’s son, Lee, and Roy’s son, Ryan, are both deeply involved in the operation.

Another sister, Mary Lou Winn, has given up her career as a respiratory therapist and is now in management at Roy’s.

Another brother, John Morgan, has worked at Logan Aluminum for many years, but was deeply involved in drawing plans for building the current location.

Roy’s has earned a reputation for delicious pit barbecue. The restaurant has been featured in numerous books and articles, including Gary West’s Eating Your Way Across Kentucky and Kentucky Living’s “2013 Best of Kentucky.” Folks travel from all over to try the pulled pork they’ve heard so much about, and relocated Logan Countians frequently stop by for a barbecue fix (and a few pounds to take back home). Roy’s has won countless awards, including Kentucky Pork Restaurant of the Year in 2007 Kentucky High School Athletic Directors’ Distinguished Service Award in 2009 and Logan County Small Business of the Year for 2014.

Ralph Morgan said Roy’s Bar-B-Q served the finest people in the world. To show their appreciation, they give back…constantly. It would be impossible to calculate the donations they’ve made in our community. The walls declare they are sports fans. You’ll find newspaper articles about Russellville football and Logan County basketball championships. Prints of local legends, letters from local leaders and banners from the 2009 Little League World Series Team adorn the walls too. Roy’s Bar-B-Q is a celebration of Logan County!

Roy’s paid for plaques to be created by Ronna Knuckles at Trophies to Go, featuring each of the members of the Russellville Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame. Those trophies, plus one honoring Roy’s Bar-B-Q, now adorn a highly visible wall at RHS.

During a period of three and a half decades, Ralph & Jolene Morgan’s bait shop and pit shack has become a Logan County institution. On any given day you can dine with doctors and factory workers, men of the badge and men of the cloth. A former UK star might stop in and share a table with a hog farmer. The parking lot can be filled with cattle trailers, motorcycles or Corvettes. If folks are passing through, they know where to stop. Roy’s Bar-B-Q brings everyone to the table…and they always come back for more!

Chris McGinnis of WRUS says, “Come Celebrate Roy's Bar B Q’s 35th Anniversary with a delicious meal. I will broadcast live from 11-1:30 today, with your chance to win CASH, Roy's Gift Cards and tickets to the Logan Counnty Cattlemen's Invitational Indoor Shootout.


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