Walnut Hills barbecue joint Just Q’in is getting some national attention this week with its appearance on the Cooking Channel show Food Paradise.
“I thought it was spam,” says owner Matt Cuff, referring to the email he received from the Food Paradise production company back in February. But the note was legit. They wanted to feature Just Q’in in a barbecue-themed episode of the TV show, which spotlights restaurants with “the country’s tastiest, most mouth-watering, and decadent meals.” A production crew arrived in mid-May, filming for one 12-hour day as Cuff and his team cooked the restaurant’s signature dishes—including brisket (called ‘Goliath’), ribs (‘Adam’), chicken sandwiches (‘Judas’), pork sandwiches (‘David’). The crew also interviewed the team members and guests.
“I still don’t know if or what type of impact it will have on us, but I guess I’m still in checklist mode,” he says. “I’m making sure that behind the scenes, if it does have an impact on us, we’re able to create an outstanding guest experience every time.”
Cuff launched Just Q’in as a food truck and catering service in 2009, eventually opening his brick-and-mortar location in Newtown in 2011 and then another location in Walnut Hills in 2016.
But a couple of years ago, revenue was down in Newtown and issues with quality and consistency were rampant. He says he realized he needed to become a better leader to improve the organization, so he pivoted.
Cuff closed the Newtown location to focus on making necessary changes for the Walnut Hills spot and with changes implemented, the restaurant has thrived during the pandemic. Now, both the food and customer experiences are heavily praised in the restaurant’s Google reviews, which, along with the restaurant’s Instagram account, caught the eye of team at the Cooking Channel. Beyond the food preparation, viewers will also get a taste for what Just Q’in stands for—“Faith, Love, and BBQ,” the restaurant’s motto.
“One thing that I believe is that people were created to have an impact on other people in whatever it is that you do,” Cuff explains. “The publicity is nice but the regular that comes in here, day in and day out, for a six-dollar brisket Mac means everything to me. Making sure that we’re creating outstanding guest experiences for those guys as well as any new people that will come in is just as important.”
Viewers can watch Just Q’in on the “Smokin’” episode of Food Paradise at 10 p.m. Wednesday, July 21, and again at 2 a.m. on Thursday, July 22. The restaurant will host a viewing party on its back patio Wednesday night from 8 to 11p.m., featuring drinks, music, and a buffet.
“Our plans for the viewing party are really simple,” Cuff says. “We’re just going to celebrate, we’re going to party.”