Our Story

In 1999 Brian Bailey was a technology salesman with a software development firm. While on a work trip in St. Louis he visited a barbecue joint, his favorite cuisine since childhood. It dawned on him that his hometown of Canton, Ohio didn’t have any really good barbecue restaurants. An idea began to form.

His high school buddy, Tim Hug, was a Regional Manager at a fast-food restaurant at the time and the duo soon began visiting barbecue restaurants in the Carolinas. It was there they discovered true Q in the Carolinas, the Cradle of the "Q" - famous for decades-old recipes, smoked in small roadside shacks by second and third generation pitmasters. They learned the low and slow secret to great barbecue and brought that rich tradition north to share with family and friends. The dream began to take shape.

In 2002 they purchased their first smoker, “Peaches” in Georgia. After practicing through the winter, they entered their first event in July 2003 and ended up winning the competitive rib circuit’s “Rookies of the Year” award.

The first Old Carolina Restaurant opened in Massillon, Ohio in 2006, seven years after the dream first began to take shape. Today, the dream has developed into 10 restaurants in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The most important thing they learned along the journey? Never take shortcuts. Old Carolina slow-smokes its meats on-site all night, every night and are committed to producing authentic, southern barbecue, served with genuine hospitality every day.  

We look forward to seeing you soon!
Brian Bailey & Tim Hug

Picture2       roadside shack
Co-founders, Brian Bailey and Tim Hug     Roadside shack smokehouse

Brian and Tim with Champagne
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 Brian and Tim at their first burnoff in Akron
July 2003.
   Brian and Pitmaster Lemon at Wilbur's

Chopped Pork at Skylight Inn 2014
   Brian and Tim with Wayne Monk 2010
Chopped Pork at Skylight Inn 

  Brian and Tim with Wayne Monk 2010

 2014 10 01 11.36.57    2014 10 01 14.11.48
A teaching moment from a great pitmaster   Learning some trade secrets!


Fat Brian and Tim with Neil Holden 2010
Tim enjoying pulled pork at Wilbur's    Brian and Tim with Neil Holden 2010 


Jon Casey at Lexington BBQ 2012 cropped        Split Hogs at Wilburs 2014
Lexington BBQ    Split Hogs at Wilburs