MILAN- People can find almost every type of cuisine in Cibola County but there’s only one place that specializes in barbeque.
“This is the only drive-thru in the world for 18-wheelers,” said Bruce Cox, Uncle Roy’s BBQ owner.
The restaurant is located near the freeway exit in Milan and is close to other businesses that cater to truckers’ needs.
Cox drove semis for more than 30 years and recalled, “Sometimes I drove 400 to 800 miles in 24 hours and by the end of the day I would be too tired to get out of the cab to walk across the parking lot to get a cup of coffee.”
He acknowledged that there are numerous drive-up facilities nationwide, especially the fast-food chains, where customers can receive curbside service. “There are lots of places for people in cars to order food but this is the first one for truckers and cars” said the owner.
His business is named for his Uncle Roy, who was a master barbeque chef, according to the owner. “My restaurant was born from real life experiences.”
“By the time I was eight years old me and my little brother would spend every summer with Uncle Roy in South Carolina, near the Outer Banks,” explained Cox. “He loved to grill, smoke and barbeque (meats), especially on weekends. When he fired up that grill it was very hard to wait until he finished because we knew it was going to be melt-in-your-mouth and fall-off-the-bone tender.”
The business owner decided to replicate his uncle’s traditional specialties and the menu includes smoked beef, pulled pork, smoked Polish sausage, barbeque pork ribs and smoked turkey legs. The “Carolina Slider,” a smaller sandwich on a dinner roll, is one of the specialty items. “It’s a good, professionally-made sandwich for only $2,” boasted the owner.
Customers can choose from a variety of side orders and Cox is planning to add a dessert menu. The owner is considering being open every day because customer response has been very good since the facility opened last month. He hopes to enlarge the building to be able to offer indoor seating.
“I don’t cook,” said Cox, “so I hired professionals. All the meat is cooked on a stainless steel rotisserie that is fired with apple wood. We usually cook 100 to 200 pounds at a time.”
He said that Todd Werthen is an excellent head cook. Cox pointed out that all staff are required to complete the state’s Environment Department food handlers’ class that is offered by the Grants’ ED office.
The restaurant entrepreneur has been developing his idea for more than six years. He noted that financial challenges had caused some unexpected delays.
“I told my uncle I was naming the business for him and he chuckled,” recalled Cox.
Unfortunately his uncle passed away just before “Uncle Roy’s BBQ” opened.
“Why am I here? I have no idea,” laughed Cox. “I came here by accident but I’m certainly glad to be here. There are some very special people in this area.”