Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn (Owensboro, KY)

As we mentioned in our post about Old Hickory, the entire reason we went to Owensboro was to eat barbeque. [In case you might have missed this, we LOVE barbeque.] Neither of us had ever been to Kentucky’s famous BBQ joint, Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn, and since we’d tried barbeque from so many spots across the U.S., we figured it was time to try the big spot in our home state.

Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn started as a roadside barbeque stand back in the late 1940s and over the years has turned into Owensboro’s most famous restaurant. Obviously, Moonlite is known for its barbeque…but locals will tell you that the reason to go is for the barbeque BUFFET. Yes, a buffet with multiple barbequed meats and plenty of sides. Scott was in heaven.

The Buffet


On the day we visited Moonlite, there were 6 meat options on the buffet: chopped beef, chopped mutton, chopped pork, sliced/shredded mutton, sliced/shredded pork, and pork ribs. Challenge accepted – we tried them all.

All of the chopped meats, mixed with BBQ sauce, were excellent. Moist (obviously!) and flavorful. The mutton had a rich flavor and was nicely tender. The pork ribs were HUGE meaty bones and quite tender. And the pork was also tender and flavorful, although a tad bit on the dry side (but that is probably a result of sitting on a buffet line).


There are a LOT of side options on the Moonlite buffet. So many, in fact, that we couldn’t try them all…or at least we didn’t since we wanted to concentrate on the meats!

There are hot sides and breads on the line with the meats. There are cold sides and an entire salad bar on a separate line. There are desserts and there is burgoo. If you leave here hungry, it’s your own fault!

We tried the baked apples, braised cabbage, green beans, baked beans, pinto beans, macaroni & cheese, burgoo and corn muffins. Yum! The baked apples were soft, sweet & cinnamon-y with a little bit of hard crust from the browned sugar. The braised cabbage and pinto beans had great flavor – thanks to huge chunks of meat cooked with them. The green beans were mixed & served with red potatoes instead of meat, but the flavor was absolutely incredible. The macaroni & cheese had a nice browned crust on top, but was still creamy & delicious underneath. The corn muffins were good, though a little on the dry side. (And they too don’t serve real butter…what’s the deal?)

As for the burgoo, we’ll tell you more about that in another post since this was our first time trying that Kentucky specialty.

So what didn’t we try? Dinner rolls, creamed corn, peas, mashed potatoes & gravy, anything on the salad bar (lettuce seemed out of place on our plates), or any of the desserts. Like we said, if you leave hungry, it’s your own fault!


Moonlite is a sit-down restaurant, so there are servers for each table, whether you get the buffet or not. Our server was Nichole, and she was friendly & efficient.

Overall Value

Including tax & tip, our total bill for the lunch buffet at Moonlite was $26.00. We consider that a pretty good value considering the amount of food (duh – all you can eat!) and the quality.

The Doggy Bag, By Knox

I found out just how much Scott & Mommy love me.

They risked broken knee caps to smuggle me a corn muffin stuffed with chopped pork from Moonlite. [Apparently, doggy bags aren’t allowed from buffets, and Mommy said that if they catch you, they’ll break your knee caps. Wow – they must take food seriously!] But my humans weren’t scared off by a potential permanent limp! They wrapped the muffin in a napkin, shoved it in Mommy’s purse, and brought it out to their adorable, patient puppy waiting in the truck. LOVE.

As for the pork-stuffed muffin itself, YUM! I gobbled it down as fast as I could – I know Scott loves his cornbread so I didn’t want to risk having to fight him for it.

Overall Ratings

Chopped Beef
Chopped Mutton
Chopped Pork
Sliced Mutton
Sliced Pork
Pork Ribs
Overall Value
Final Rating
Knox’s Rating