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Covington BBQ Spot to Reopen with Refreshed Name, Space

The restaurant previously known as McK's Chicks is celebrating a grand reopening as McK's BBQ following a renovation of its downtown Covington space at 11 West 7th Street near Braxton Brewing Co.

The grand reopening is scheduled for Thursday, June 24 at 4 p.m.

McK's Chicks first opened in 2017 and developed a reputation for its barbecue offerings. In 2019, it was awarded "best entree" at the Taste of Cincinnati event for its pork grenade.

Gregg McKinstry, the founder, has been praised for his meats smoked in two drum smokers located in the adjacent alley.

McKinstry worked with building owner Eric Steiden to develop a plan to rehabilitate the space for a better customer experience, with new mechanicals and indoor dining.

The restaurant shut down for many months but now is ready to welcome customers back.

McK's BBQ is now decorated with salvaged barn wood throughout and features black walnut bar tops, corrugated metal accents, and an exposed steel truss ceiling.

The facade has also been enhanced and made to be brighter.

All food is made in-house, and new additions to the menu include bourbon slushies and beer. Those items join classics like ribs, smoked wings, brisket chili, collard greens, smoked burgers, pork belly, burnt ends, beans, and a selection of sauces.

“This building had so much potential, but it was no longer functional for the demand Gregg was experiencing," said Steiden, who operates Madison Ventures. "We feel that this renovation will be a meaningful component to the continued  development of the Covington Central Business District. Seeing Covington come back to life has been a terrific experience."  

"Covington's growth has exploded over the past few years, and we want to be part of the incredible revitalization of the city," McKinstry said. "Seventh and Madison anchors the development that has spread everywhere in the central business district.

McKinstry said that he believes that McK’s BBQ will stand out among Greater Cincinnati’s barbeque offerings.

"What sets us apart is our devotion to producing authentic BBQ and classic sides with only the best ingredients available, but we also offer unique twists on the BBQ theme. There is something on our menu for everyone," he said. "We’re thrilled to be situated at the culinary center of this evolving and growing community."  

McKinstry is a restaurant veteran. A graduate of culinary school Le Cordon Bleu (Las Vegas branch), McKinstry has worked in restaurants since he was 14 years old.  

The City of Covington will begin construction this summer to expand the 7th Street sidewalk to a width of 28 feet. McK's BBQ plans to take advantage of the new promenade to expand his outdoor seating.  

McK's BBQ will operate Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. It also offers catering services, and a second location in Liberty Township, Oh.

-Staff report