BBQ has landed at the corner of 12th and Broadway Streets in Pendleton. Lucius Q, a new restaurant and bar serving smoked meats and several styles of BBQ, celebrated a quiet opening late last week before the din of St. Patrick's Day followed over the weekend.
Aaron Sharpe, formerly of WNKU and one of three partners behind the restaurant, says they never set out to do a BBQ place. In fact, their first idea, opening a new music venue, tapped into what he'd known on an intimate level for the past 18 years.
CORNERING A MARKET
Aaron loved building a community around music during his time in radio. Meanwhile, his business partners, Jeff Keate and Shane Spears, had experience in the restaurant and business world. While the three searched for a location for their music venue, they landed on the corner building at 1131 Broadway Street in Pendleton. However, after some thought, they realized it wouldn't be for music.
It would be for a BBQ joint. They were ditching beats and going with meats.
“This is a real neighborhood. It’s diverse, and we wanted to do something approachable. And what’s more approachable than BBQ?” Aaron reasons.
Though the concept changed, the goal remained. Instead of building a community around just music, the trio would do it around food, too.
Communal seating and a finely crafted playlist speak to this mission. They're not interested in loading a Spotify station and hitting play while people sit in private booths.
So why "Lucius Q?" Aaron was raised in Cincinnati and wanted to pay homage to it with a subtle reference.
"We toyed around with different names. We wanted it to end in 'Q' because of 'BBQ,' and didn't want it to be something like 'Porkopolis.' That was a little too obvious," he recalls.
They knew of Cincinnatus, the Roman statesman-turned-leader, and knew the city shared his namesake, but they wanted to learn more about the man to find a subtle reference to him.
"What's his kid's name? What's his wife's name? What town did he live in? What kinda car did he drive...I don't know." Aaron jokes. "Turns out, Cincinnatus is NOT like Bono, Cher, or Madonna. He has a first and middle name, too."
Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus.
They'd found their subtle reference. Branding was next. The guys tasked long-time friends and branding experts Keith Neltner and Tommy Sheehan to help with that.
"Lo and behold, they came back with Lucius riding a pig into battle," Aaron chuckles. "Alright, that's it. Done."
THAT APPROACHABLE FOOD
After getting Tom Martin, formerly of Smoq in Springdale, to make the jump to their kitchen as head chef, the restaurant began to take shape. Though serving a variety of different styles of BBQ from around the country makes Lucius Q stand out, it's the really experience that separates it from its contemporaries.
It exists somewhere between a Texas BBQ shack and something you'd find on Vine Street. That is to say, Lucius may be riding a pig into battle, but he's also wearing Frameri rims and probably dropped a Benjamin or two on a distressed leather saddle from Elm & Iron along the way.
And though it plays up the meats, vegetarians have their pick of menu items as well. According to Aaron, the trio thought about just catering to carnivores, but decided it'd be a bad move.
With the added layer of desserts and an outdoor patio, Aaron, Jeff, and Shane, along with the rest of the Lucius Q crew, are poised to smoke both the meats and competition this summer.
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Lucius Q is located at 1131 Broadway Street (45202).