The owners of Butcher Paper BBQ in Opelika plan to bring their fall-off-the-bone goodness to downtown Auburn with Rob's Ribs, a new venture that aims to fill the gaps in the area's barbecue offerings.
"This is a big step for us," said Mark Coxwell, who co-owns Butcher Paper with his wife, Anna. "This is huge step in expansion. We're really taking this opportunity to do a lot of things that we've wanted to do for a long time, to be able to offer more to the community and to be able to expand our reach. I think it's going to be a really good thing, and we're really excited to move into the Auburn community and to be a part of the Auburn community."
Rob's Ribs will take over the old Mike and Ed's location by the train tracks on North College Street, a prime spot near the heart of downtown Auburn.
"I'm super stoked," said executive chef Alex Bradfield. "Everything gets talked about a little bit more over here in general, just more word-of-mouth, more people, and we're right in the middle of downtown."
Rob's Ribs will not only bring staples from the Butcher Paper menu, like smoked mac and cheese, but expand its offerings now that their team has a full in-house kitchen with which to work.
The new restaurant will offer staples like its brisket and pork and sides, and also two kids of ribs — baby back and beef — as well as expand its menu while featuring a full bar.
"We're entertaining the idea of doing whole hog on the weekends, so that's going to be a task," said Bradfield. "We're going to do appetizers and salads, too. We're going to have barbecue nachos, chili cheese fries, chicken fried ribs. We're going to have a Cobb salad and a normal house salad; people have been asking for salads a lot, so it's good to have on the menu now that we have the space to do it."
The Mike and Ed's building is currently undergoing renovations, with the hope that Rob's Ribs will open its doors at some point in April, said Rob Goodwin, general manager and partner.
"I've got deep roots in Auburn, so it's so nice to be back here professionally," said Goodwin, whose grandfather graduated from Auburn University in 1957 and who has been coming to the Plains since he was young before moving here after high school.
While Auburn residents will have to wait a bit before exploring the menu at Rob's Ribs, they will be able to get a taste of what's to come possibly as soon as next week.
"We will be bringing the Butcher Paper trailer to the gravel lot in the back starting probably next week, at least one day a week, so people can start knowing that we're here and start driving some traffic," said Coxwell. "I'm excited to be able to offer a place closer for all of our friends and neighbors in Auburn and to give them something that's unique to Auburn."
Coxwell added that social media pages for Rob's Ribs will be set up soon. In the meantime, updates can be found on Butcher Paper's Facebook page and on Instagram (@butcherpaper_bbq).