Rib City is celebrating 25 years of operation in 2014.
Founded in Fort Myers in 1989, Rib City is a family-owned national barbecue chain. There are currently 12 corporate restaurants in Florida with 10 locations in Southwest Florida and 14 franchise restaurants across the country including Washington, Utah, Colorado, Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and Virginia.
The concept of Rib City's real barbecue and great ribs started out with a small, family-style operation on U.S. 41 in Fort Myers. With the success of that location, a second restaurant opened in Cape Coral in 1990.
By 1992, Rib City outgrew its small location on U.S. 41 and moved to a larger location up the street. Later that same year, a Fort Myers Beach location was added, and in 1994, a North Naples store was opened, making Rib City's award-winning baby back ribs available in two counties.
"We are proud to be celebrating 25 years in Southwest Florida," said Craig Peden, company president. "Through leadership, dedication and a love of the restaurant business, we have been able to maintain a superior quality in our products and services."
Craig and his father Paul Peden have been successful restaurateurs in Southwest Florida for more than 35 years, having owned and operated a number of restaurants including the Veranda in downtown Fort Myers.
In 1995, the Pedens continued to grow the Rib City brand and expand into new areas. The father and son duo added nine more locations within the next 10 years including East Fort Myers in 1996, East Naples in 1997, Immokalee in 1998, North Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres in 1999, St. Petersburg in 2002, Venice in 2004, North Fort Myers in 2005 and Estero in 2011.
Offering franchises was the next step in the Rib City story, and that chapter began in 2004 with restaurant locations in Littleton and Grand Junction, Colo. From 2005 to present, more franchise locations were opened in Fruita and Arvada, Colo.; Vancouver, Wash.; American Fork, Utah; Montrose, Colo.; Springdale, Ohio; Rifle, Colo.; St. Louis, Mo.; Cookeville, Tenn.; Alton, Ill.; Virginia Beach, Va., and a second location in Littleton, Colo.
Going forward, the Pedens plan to nurture the growth of their franchise business with additional locations nationwide.
Rib City offers a menu of barbecued meats, specialized sauces and complementary side dishes such as made-from-scratch baked beans and cole slaw. Rib City achieves authentic backyard barbecue flavor by slowly cooking baby back ribs and chicken over selected hardwoods - including red oak - carefully balancing heat and cooking time to seal in the distinctive Rib City BBQ taste. Meats can be topped with one of four secret recipe sauces: brown sugar-based sweet sauce, vinegar-based tangy sauce, Carolina mustard sauce or hot sauce.
Additional menu items include fried okra, three-cheese fries, fried shrimp, coconut cream and Southern pecan pies and more.
Rib City's complete menu is available online at www.ribcity.com.
Rib City is listed with the franchise registry, a list of franchise systems whose franchisees have the benefits of a streamlined review process for US Small Business Administration financings.