Jennifer and Michael Segree, of Arkansas City, opened Boss Hogs BBQ in Winfield four months ago, offering smoked meats and homemade sides in a relaxed atmosphere.
The restaurant, at 314 W. Eighth Ave., in Winfield, serves smoked meats, including ribs, bologna, brisket, chicken, hot links, Polish sausage and pulled pork, along with sandwiches, desserts, sides and other items.
The Segrees first talked about opening a restaurant four years ago, but decided not to do it then. They revisited the idea later and decided it was the right time. Almost a year ago, they started remodeling the space that would become Boss Hogs.
The building, which previously held The Lumberyard restaurant and a bar, was completely remodeled, a process that took about six months. The walls, floors, electrical system and kitchen were among the areas receiving upgrades. Today, the space is light and bright, with epoxy-coated floors and corrugated metal accents in the dining room. The walls are decorated with images representing Kansas, including sunflowers and a tornado.
The most popular items, according to Jennifer Segree, are ribs, loaded baked potatoes and the Boss Hog sandwich, made with pulled pork, sliced brisket, bologna and half of a hot link.
Michael Segree makes the barbecue, using a smoke room in the back of the restaurant. He smokes meat almost every day, coming to work early in the morning to do so. He once spent four days straight at the restaurant when it first opened, even sleeping there in order to get the food ready.
Barbecue has a long history in his family. He learned the tricks of the trade from the owner of the former Carl’s BBQ in Arkansas City. Segree and his father would drive to Winfield from their home in Arkansas City to smoke meat with family and friends. All of the side dishes are made fresh daily in the restaurant.
Jennifer Segree’s role includes managing the front end, scheduling and hiring. Her husband calls her the Chief Financial Officer of their business.
Reaction to the restaurant and the food has been overwhelmingly positive, the owners said, with very few complaints. Their barbecue has won fans from Kansas City, a city known for its barbecue, and even from other countries.
“The farthest customer we’ve had, came from Italy,” Jennifer Segree said. He said he didn’t come here specifically for the food, but loved it.
The most challenging aspect of owning a business, Michael Segree said, is balancing it with family life.
“We try to work together as a family and not let business issues carry over,” he said.
The best thing about owning a restaurant, Jennifer Segree said, is meeting new people. Michael Segree said it’s the people and also getting to cut his own path and be his own boss.
In keeping with the family nature of the business, almost all staff members are relatives of the Segrees, including siblings, cousins and their son. Even the employees who aren’t related are considered family members.
“Everyone here is related,” Michael Segree said. “We’re one big family.”
The Segrees are appreciative of the support they’ve received from the community.
Boss Hogs BBQ is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. They also do catering. Their phone number is (620) 402-2972.