Bobby's back in business

AIKEN - Bobby Griffin Jr. carefully placed words on his restaurant's marquee to show his appreciation for his customers Wednesday morning.

"Thank you for 25 years, and we're looking forward to 25 more. God willing," the sign reads.

By lunchtime, Bobby's Bar-B-Que's customers thanked him back.

The parking lot was packed with the cars and trucks of longtime customers and friends Wednesday afternoon who had waited more than a week to return to the popular barbecue buffet.

"Last week was miserable," said Linda Webb, who eats at Bobby's every Wednesday with her co-workers. "If we didn't get some barbecue soon, it would not have been good."

The restaurant shut down from Feb. 15 until Tuesday while owners held a court-ordered auction to help settle tax debt with the state Department of Revenue. The auction was part of a Chapter 11 restructuring plan.

Griffin, whose father owned the restaurant before his death in 2008, bought the restaurant's contents at the auction last week and now owns the restaurant.

"We got a pretty good crowd. Probably better than I thought it would be," he said. "We're just happy we can keep the doors open and the people happy."