Local BBQ restaurant continues its dominance at the Ohio State Fair rib-tasting competition

Hickory River Smokehouse in Tipp City won the People's Choice Award at this year's Ohio State Fair Pork Rib-Off competition, marking the third time out of the last four years, Maria Davis, the restaurant's co-owner, said this morning, Aug. 15.

“The People's Choice award is especially meaningful to us because it is voted on by the actual fair-goers who sampled barbecue from 11 competitors from all over the state, and they chose Hickory River as their favorite,” Davis said.

Davis and her husband Dan have operated the restaurant at 135 S. Garber Drive just off I-75 in Tipp City since 2011, when they bought it from Hickory River founders Brad and Krista Bowman.

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The restaurant has a strong record at the state fair’s rib competition.

“In the past, we have also won Grand Champion for our pulled pork five times (2008, ‘09, ‘10, ‘11, ‘14), and Grand Champion for our BBQ sauce two times (’08, ‘11), and for our ribs in 2011. We won Reserve Champion for our ribs in 2012, and pulled pork in 2013,” Davis said.

The Tipp City restaurant has an on-site smokehouse. The competition is overseen by the Ohio Pork Producers Council.

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The Texas-style barbecue restaurant concept was launched in 1995 in Urbana, Illinois. There are now four locations in Illinois in addition to the Tipp City location. Davis told this news outlet today that Hickory River is “actively looking to open new locations in Ohio.”

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