Did you know that May 16th is National BBQ Day? What better way to celebrate than by digging into some slow-smoked tender ribs at Old Carolina BBQ.
Mark Feeney, Restaurant Manager at Old Carolina BBQ, will be celebrating all day as he serves up the restaurant’s signature pulled pork, which is smoked over hickory wood for no less than 14 hours to ensure each bite is tender, juicy and pulls right apart.
For Feeney National BBQ day is not only a wonderful celebration of delicious BBQ, but it is also a sweet reminder of where it all began.
Old Carolina BBQ was started by two high school buddies, Brian Bailey and Tim Hug. They had a passion for BBQ in the Carolinas and wanted to bring those flavors back home to Ohio. The pair opened their first restaurant in Massillon in 2003 and have since expanded to ten locations throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The story of Mansfield’s Old Carolina BBQ started in 2014 when Feeney and his family noticed how Mansfield didn’t have a Southern-style BBQ place like they were craving. They thought the area could really use one. This launched conversations between Feeney and his dad, Joe, and sister, Jami, and in January of 2015, they decided to take action and bring Old Carolina BBQ to Mansfield.
“It was really the food that sold me,” Feeney said. “The quality of the product was immediately evident. It was great food, and it was unique. It wasn’t just any run-of-the-mill BBQ. Everything was flavorful, and everything was made from scratch.”
Feeney has a culinary background, so the food was extremely important to him. But he wasn’t just looking for good BBQ; he wanted something that would bring some homeyness and integrity to Mansfield.
“We wanted something locally owned, not a chain run by people hundreds of miles away. Because we wanted to run this location as a family and for families, we wanted something similar at the corporate level,” he explained. They found that perfect fit in the Old Carolina BBQ family.
Catering that might surprise you
For Feeney, this whole wild adventure is all about family, which has led the way as they have developed an expansive catering service through the restaurant.
While BBQ might not be the first food that comes to mind when thinking about wedding catering, Mansfield’s Old Carolina has catered hundreds of weddings.
Feeney noted, “this generation’s weddings are homier than their parents’ were. They’re more about bringing people together and celebrating that union. BBQ brings people together, just like a marriage brings two families together. Everyone smiles when they eat BBQ.”
No matter the wedding venue, Old Carolina can cater. Feeney has catered out of barns, churches, backyards, and even grandmothers’ kitchens.
“Our food makes sense no matter where you are. BBQ bridges the gap between formal catering and a backyard cookout,” he said.
But weddings aren’t the only type of catering Old Carolina does. They cater events anywhere from 10 to 600 people. They can cater using a buffet or full service approach, offer a selection of prices ranging from $7.99/person to $20.00/person, and service everything from birthday parties and graduations to meetings and large corporate retreats.
“I like to think that life is a series of events, and I can cater them all,” Feeney noted.
And he certainly does. Jodi Mooney, Receptionist at Next Generation Films in Lexington, Ohio, has brought in Old Carolina BBQ catering for dozens of meetings and corporate events over the past four years.
“Whenever I call, they deliver promptly, and Mark sets everything up really nicely beforehand. They ask questions to make sure they know exactly what we need. I’ve even called last minute, and he has still been here, completely prepared,” Mooney said.
What stands out to her the most about Old Carolina is the hospitality.
“We have used their services countless times, so I have worked with many different employees. I have never met a member of their staff that is anything less than extremely polite, ready to go, and happy to help in any way they can.” she said.
She keeps going back to Old Carolina for not only the hospitality, but also the delicious BBQ. “Everyone always asks for Old Carolina!” she said.
BBQ any day, every day
For Feeney and his team, every day is National BBQ day as they serve up the same delicious meals every day of the week.
Old Carolina’s most popular menu items, as well as Feeney’s personal favorites, are the 14-hour slow-smoked pulled pork and their ribs. Pair it with their skin-on garlic mashed potatoes, or their signature “Simply the World’s Greatest Baked Beans.”
For first-time customers, Feeney recommends their Carolina Combo: ribs, pulled pork, two sides, and cornbread.
When asked why customers should stop in for National BBQ Day, Feeney simply said “Because it’s national BBQ day! They should come every day of course, but if it’s their first time with us, I would really like to wow them for the holiday.”
Feeney also encourages customers to mark their calendars every Sunday for Old Carolina’s All-You-Can-Eat specials.
Every Sunday from 10:30 am to 9:30 pm, Old Carolina serves their pulled pork and chicken, any two sides, and cornbread. For just $8.99, you can eat until your stomach and soul are stuffed with BBQ. Try the pork, mashed potatoes, and baked beans on your first plate, and follow that up with the chicken, mac-n-cheese, and country green beans on your next.
“I truly believe I have the best BBQ in town and I want to spread that to the world. That’s why we do the All-You-Can-Eat specials. It’s the best way to share the most of our food with the most people for the most affordable price,” Feeney said.
Stop in to Old Carolina BBQ at 2035 W. Fourth Street to celebrate National BBQ Day on May 16, on Sunday for their All-You-Can-Eat specials, and every other day for a delicious meal. Interested in booking Old Carolina BBQ for you next event or meeting? Contact Feeney’s team at 419-529-0680 to ask about catering for your next event.