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Woody’s BBQ announced that it has brought its special brand of classic southern barbecue and comfort food sides to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The newest franchisees to join the growing franchise network are Kevin and Tammy Willie, whose new restaurant—Woody’s Bar-B-Q of Murray, Kentucky—is located at 604 North 12th Street and just opened for business on Monday, January 22. The addition of Kentucky brings the total count of states where Woody’s has a presence to five—including Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania and New York.

“With a city tagline like ‘Feels Like Home,’ we believe Murray will prove the ideal location for our newest Woody’s BBQ,” says Yolanda Mills-Mawman, president and co-founder of the restaurant chain that was established in 1980 and has been franchising since 1989. “At Woody’s, we always strive to provide a hometown atmosphere in each of our restaurants and food that reminds our guests of home-cooked meals from their youth. We’re excited to welcome Kevin and Tammy to the team and look forward to seeing the locals’ reaction to our concept, which features a commitment to customer service founded in Southern Hospitality and recipes that have stood the test of time over the course of nearly 40 years.”

Before becoming the newest Woody’s BBQ franchisees, Kevin and Tammy Willie had researched a number of franchise opportunities because they believed there is greater security in knowing the product lines, service offerings, and other operations that have already been tested and optimized for the marketplace. Kevin had once served as a manager of a Wendy’s franchise before entering the finance field, and Tammy had worked in a number of restaurants during her high school and college years before becoming a special education teacher. After paying a visit to Woody’s BBQ in Jacksonville, Florida, the couple believed it would prove a unique offering in Murray with tremendous potential for growth. Their new restaurant features table service, beer and wine, drive-thru, delivery and catering.

“This is the answer to a lifelong dream,” Tammy says. “Kevin and I eat out weekly. Most of the time we drive to other cities because of the limited number of options locally. We saw a real need in our area and pursued the opportunity. We wanted to be part of a growing franchise. Once we visited Woody’s BBQ and tasted the delicious food, we knew Murray would want this—a family-friendly, community-oriented full-service restaurant that serves slow-smoked Southern barbecue. In Western Kentucky, it seems the words barbecue and pulled pork are synonymous. But at Woody’s, barbecue is much more than that. Pulled pork is only one of our many menu items. We have Prime Rib, mouthwatering ribs, juicy chicken, tender brisket and more. We believe that Woody’s will be a refreshing addition.”

As one of the premier barbecue chains in North America, Woody’s BBQ offers two proven franchise concepts to prospective franchisees. To complement an extensive menu of classic Southern barbeque, Woody’s most popular traditional full-service dining concept features spacious dining rooms, in-store event calendars, an assortment of beer and wine, and— in select locations—a full bar. In keeping with the latest trends, Woody’s has also debuted its new fast-casual concept, which features a smaller footprint and counter ordering with delivery to the table. Some fast-casual locations offer beer and wine, as well. In addition to dine-in, both concepts provide take-out and catering services.

While most Woody’s BBQ locations are concentrated in Florida, where the franchise is based, there are several other locations beyond the borders of the Sunshine State including Augusta, Georgia, and Nanuet, New York. Another future franchise is planned for Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 2018, with more on the way.