The hickory-smoked ribs platters, pulled pork and pulled turkey sandwiches and platters are as popular as the half-pound grilled burgers topped with bacon and cheese, homemade barbecue sauce or blue cheese and, of course, cheese. The 1-pound Stinger burger, named for the WVSU Yellow Jackets, suits hearty appetites.
A pulled pork salad and pulled turkey sandwich provide lighter options. Customers wash it all down with the lemonade made from freshly squeezed lemons. The lemonade recipe is the same they use when they take their show on the road. During a typical festival, they go through 600 to 1,000 lemons.
To accommodate the strong regional preferences most pulled pork fans possess, two homemade sauces sit on every table. The pulled pork sauce is a compromise of regional flavors with a combination of North Carolina mustard/vinegar flavor and Memphis-style catsup and brown sugar. The sweeter rib sauce contains honey.
The pulled pork is smoked in a 50-gallon smoker for 12 hours and the ribs for 5 to 7 hours.
Jim and Nick do most of the cooking. Jim's grandfather taught him to smoke meat. Everyone plays a crucial role on the well-organized team. Their extended family and friends lend a hand. The girls' father runs errands and their mother babysits the Gohlmann's 7-month-old son, Carter.
Ridge View BBQ fans should recognize the restaurant even before they taste the barbecue. The yellow and black interior mimics the concession trailer's exterior. A flame border surrounds the windows. The colorful tiles on the floor and bar, bright blue walls and tiki tops over the cashier and pick up area all represent design elements found on the trailer and logo.
Yellow Jacket memorabilia covers one of the restaurant's walls, a nod to the students they hope will dine there. The diner/barbecue menu has sandwiches and burgers priced at $6 to $8, platters from $8 to $13, half rack of ribs at $10 and a whole rack at $20. The price range aims to offer options for both budget-conscious students and destination diners.
The concession business is active between April and October and catering jobs fill in many of the gaps, but the couples hope the restaurant will provide steady income. Ridge View BBQ is closed on the weekends to accommodate festival appearances and catering jobs.
"This is an opportunity to get a fresh burger for about a fast-food price," Wendy said.
Ridge View BBQ, 5010 Fairlawn Ave., is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Closed Saturday and Sunday. Call 304-400-4650 or visit Ridge Viewbbq.com.
Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.