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Rick and Amy Hughes, seven-year franchisees of the Prestonsburg Pig in a Poke location, have opened their doors for business in Paintsville — but only for carry out and curbside pickup service at this time. Rick Hughes said he has tentatively plans to open the restaurant for indoor dining as soon as Valentine’s Day.

A new Pig in a Poke location has soft-opened, as of Friday, Jan. 22, in Rock City Plaza, offering curbside and carryout service for the next two weeks, as part of what owners Rick and Amy Hughes said is both due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to allow an opportunity for employees to train.

The new location is part of the franchise owned by Brian and Tammy Kramer, Hughes said, and is the Hughes’ second location after they purchased the franchise rights for the Prestonsburg location approximately seven years ago.

Hughes said work began on the location in October and the decision was made not to open the restaurant until after the New Year for tax purposes and that opening the restaurant during the pandemic was at first nerve-wracking.

“My rent started Oct. 1,” Hughes said. “It should have been (open) already, but we decided to wait until after the first of the year for tax purposes. There was no use in being open for three or four weeks and then having to do all of the tax paperwork for three or four weeks.

“I will be honest with you, when it started out, I thought, ‘This is going to be alright,’ but then when December came and they shut all inside seating down, it kind of made me a little nervous then,” Hughes said. “But I just knew that, if we could get the doors open, we would be okay.”

Hughes was looking at the silver lining in the situation and said the soft open was actually a nice opportunity for employee training, but that sales and community support were already looking good for the restaurant.

“We were OK Friday and Saturday just doing carry-out and curbside,” Hughes said. “The reason that we’re only doing that right now is, we’re trying to get people trained … and trying to do it on the fly with customers sitting out there is hard.”

Hughes said prospective patrons could expect the same menu they’re familiar with from the Prestonsburg location and that the restaurant was looking at opening the doors for socially-distanced indoor dining around the week of Valentine’s Day, prospectively.

“We’re at 50-percent, so that’s the seating capacity, so we’ll be able to put about 45 people in the restaurant,” Hughes said. “That’s not a whole lot, but, I’ve still got friends today that won’t go eat at a restaurant but they’ll carry out to support (local restaurants) and I appreciate that … I think it’s a win-win.”

Hughes said he is thankful for the help of the City of Paintsville’s government in getting the business up and running.

“The people in the city, Mayor Bill Mike Runyon, all of the people that I’ve been up there and talked to, they’ve been great to us,” Hughes said. “Anything that we needed, they were more than willing to help.”

Hughes said the interior of the restaurant has been remodeled and that he intended to honor the past of Paintsville with decorations including notable local talent and landmarks.

“We went in and we remodeled the inside, it’s kind of a decoration of Paintsville,” Hughes said. “As soon as you walk in the door, you see a big picture of the Paintsville Lake that was donated to us. You see Loretta Lynn, Tyler Childers and Chris Stapleton stuff on the wall. It’s really nice, it’s changed.”

Orders can be placed for pickup by phone at, (606) 372-2525, Hughes said, or placed in person at the restaurant. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., while the restaurant is open Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and closed on Sundays and Mondays.

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