CRESTVIEW — The option of having smoked ribs on barbecue-loving north Crestview families' dinner tables has returned with Possum Ridge BBQ's reopening.
"We've been having some excitement," co-owner Viola Plante said as she served a couple picking up a barbecue dinner after church. "Each week is better than the one before."
A familiar black trailer — in which she and her husband, pit master Rick Plante, started their Triple-B champion blue ribbon-winning business several years ago — is parked in front of theBJ Food Store on State Road 85 in the Auburn community.
"We're just two minutes north of Winn-Dixie," Viola Plante said. "All of our old customers from Kevin Lewis' location (their original set-up next to Lewis & Co. Jewelers) followed us to Ms. B's and then followed us up here."
The Plantes bought the former Ms. B's Bar-B-Que and Bakery from founder Belinda Gibbons last year, but the overhead of operating a sit-down restaurant proved overwhelming.
"With the economy, we had to leave the building," Viola said.
She and her husband sought locations to park the big black trailer with its "front porch" smoker before settling on three possibilities.
None worked out.
"They were either too expensive, or city regulations said only one business could operate per parcel, or the owner said, 'No, thank you,'" Viola said.
Then an old friend came to the rescue.
"We knew Bobby Helms for a long time. He's a great man," she said. "The invitation has always been to come here. After we got the county requirements together, we moved in."
Possum Ridge is concluding its fourth week at its new location.
Viola said she and Rick enjoyed a brief vacation, "just to get away," after closing Ms. B's after Thanksgiving, but returned to fresh challenges while resuming efforts to reopen the trailer.
"We came back to 3 inches of water in the house" from a burst pipe, she said.
"We've been working with the insurance company, living in a hotel and getting re-established," Viola said. "Creditors don't wait. We had to get to work."
The new Possum Ridge BBQ location is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
A recent large catering job at Davidson Middle School was a "welcome shot in the arm," she added.
"With the heartfelt, warm welcome from our friends and customers, we're excited to be back," she said.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.