Thursday, Oct. 04 2012 5:34PM
Word of mouth
Greenwood couple enjoying fruits of labor in BBQ biz
By Toriano Porter
Talk about defying the downturn.
When Kim and Dave Hulett left Wichita, Kan. and moved to the Kansas City area in 2006, the couple had no plans to open a restaurant. They merely wanted to leave a city that suffered mightily after Sept. 11, 2001, in hopes of better opportunities.
“We had another business before in Wichita for 13 years,” Kim Hulett said of a carpet cleaning and floor care business the couple owned. “Totally different (than the restaurant business).”
Dave Hulett would eventually complete his studies in business management at Baker University in Kansas, but by the time 2009 rolled around employment prospects were slim.
The couple moved from Overland Park, Kan. to Greenwood in 2008.
“The economic time was really one of the reasons we started up another business. He gets his degree but no job, no job, can’t find a job,” Kim Hulett said of her husband’s career. “Now he’s got a degree and can’t find a job, so now it’s like ‘open up your own business again.’”
Out of that uncertainty came Pork-n-Pit, a family-owned BBQ eatery at 1803 N.E. Colbern Rd. headed up by the Hulett husband and wife team who have been married for 20 years.
“We looked around Lee’s Summit and tried to figure out what Lee’s Summit needed,” Dave Hulett said. “We felt like a good, quality barbecue place would do really well.”
The Lee’s Summit-based business has established itself as a barbecue hotbed in a metro area known as a barbecue breeding ground.
“The food,” customer George Schuyler of Lee’s Summit said of what makes him a repeat patron. “They’ve got good food. We come here all the time. My wife and I come here in the evening and we just like the food. It’s really good.”
Schuyler and friend Dale Montgomery stopped by Pork-n-Pit Oct. 3 for a regularly scheduled visit for lunch. They dined on a plate of fried catfish strips and sides, all the while enjoying a good-natured ribbing from Kim Hulett.
“The food and the people,” Montgomery said of Pork-n-Pit’s allure. “I come about three times a week; sometimes more. Everything they have is good.”
Pork-n-Pit opened in August of 2009 and in the three years since has gained a loyal following. The Huletts have come to a conclusion for what keeps folks coming back for more burnt ends, brisket and the like.
“Quality, quantity and price,” Kim Hulett said of the business’s draw. “We like to cook, we like to eat and we like to share the love of food. That’s what we like to tell people. We just keep making the menu items bigger and everything better.”
Said Dave Hulett: “And perseverance. We have a positive attitude.”
The Huletts both work in the restaurant from open to close and they also have two-full time employees. Their teenage son also helps at the restaurant. Recently the eatery expanded its menu to include a salad bar.
With a successful business in tight quarters – Pork-n-Pit has only seven tables total on the inside – the couple may have no other choice but to find a bigger location.
“The customers want us to,” Kim Hulett said. “We could use a bigger place. We’ve got like, what, seven tables? People get (food) to go or they’ll stand and wait. They’ll wait and they don’t complain. We’ve got some pretty good customers.”
Although relocation or expansion is not a pressing issue for the duo, satisfying their loyal customer base remains the priority.
“Very loyal,” Dave Hulett said of Pork-n-Pit’s customers. “Very loyal customers.”
Kim Hulett added: “We have very loyal customers. Thank goodness for that. Thank goodness we’ve had a lot of loyal customers who’ve been here since day one and they still keep coming back and they bring people with them. Ninety-nine percent of our advertising is by word of mouth.”