Kimberly Pitts, a lady with a big personality and an even bigger heart, expresses both with her cuisine. Kimberly, the owner of The BBQ Pitts Stop, said it all began with a phone call from her husband, Aaron. “In 2016, my husband called and sent me to an address to pick up a purchase. It was a horse trailer. It had long been my dream to put my 35-year cooking hobby to use. My dad and I built out the horse trailer to fit specific needs for creating the southern sides style of southern cuisine I am so passionate about.”

Bringing her custom-built food trailer, she and her husband, Aaron, moved to the Village from the Memphis area in September 2018. The almost five-year Village resident shared that the family was initially drawn to the Village because Aaron’s parents and extended family have resided in the Village and Hot Springs area for many years. The pull of family, while strong, was not the only reason Kim and Aaron wanted to relocate. “While the Memphis area will always be our hometown, we wanted a slower pace for our two youngest boys to launch from,” the stationary food truck owner shared.

In addition to the two youngest, Aaron and Kim have five more children and ten grandchildren. “All but four of these pieces of our hearts are in the Memphis area.” The two younger boys love the Hot Springs Village area. Kimberly feels blessed to be part of a community where she has confidence the kids are safe if she drops them off at the park or leaves them at Magic Springs Amusement Park all day.

Kimberly said that in Memphis, she worked in the construction industry’s project consultation and compliance area for 23 years, primarily with HOPE VI Revitalization projects. According to the HOPE VI website, the program was developed to eliminate severely distressed public housing in several key areas. To serve the needs of low-income residents, the program addresses physical improvements, management improvements, and social and community services.

The entrepreneur said, “I truly loved being a consultant in the construction Industry. I enjoyed the freedom to make my schedule and being outside more than inside. However, having my food business allows me the space to be creative and share love. That is hugely important to me. Food is how I show love. Hosting a celebration, feeding the homeless, or watching my family scarf down my ribs, I am full! Being able to get good and even bad feedback is invaluable. I wish everyone could love their ‘job’ as much as I do!”

“When we moved here, we stored the food truck for almost a year. I finally started seeking a spot to set up. I had catered in the Memphis area but wanted a daily location. It was by pure happenstance I found the One of a Kind Antiques Mall. I was lost. I returned the next day and started speaking with Sandy. Next thing you know, I had a spot to park my food trailer,” said Kimberly.

“It was a dreadfully slow start. We have never found the best advertising in this area. I even went door-to-door down Hwy 7, handing out coupons. Word of mouth seems to be the greatest tool. The mall certainly provided us with a steady flow of customers. Then I discovered that the owners of One of a Kind, Sandy and Keith, were retiring and selling out. I couldn’t have been more thrilled for them. They found the absolute perfect buyers! The Gross Family has and will continue to improve the market, now called The Vintage Pearl Market. These changes will make the spot a Destination Location!” enthused Kimberly.

“There was a time during the transition to the new owners, I didn’t know the fate of our little food truck. We were seeking potential alternate locations – some even in Hot Springs.”

“Smoked Meats and Unique Eats!”

Kimberly’s cuisine style embodies a distinctive and eclectic mix of life influences. “The food truck is my happy place. I get to play with fire and employ smoking techniques I have gained over 30 years. My extended Alabama family gave me huge insights into the creative techniques of their African-American heritage. Many of my co-workers in Memphis came from Spanish influence, and backyard cookouts were always a learning experience.  Traveling with my husband, we have experienced every type of BBQ from every region of America. You don’t grow up in Memphis and not learn to appreciate SMOKE.  I am also extremely blessed to be acquainted with southern ladies who imparted their love and passion for gardening and farm-to-table idealogy before it became a “niche”! My food truck affords me the autonomy to be creative, explorative, and wildly healthy for a BBQ spot!”

“I like to say my food is non-traditional Memphis BBQ, consisting of smoked meats and unique eats! One day, I will be able to promote that phrase properly. I certainly, prefer the Memphis BBQ flavor profile. However, I serve a healthy mix of many styles. My Smoked Chicken is a nod to Alabama and the use of the Alabama White Sauce in the smoking process. I also love to employ tangerines and other citrus influences of the Spanish in my smoked pork,” shared Kimberly.

“Sauces are LIFE!”

“I have a few signature sauces, all built from my foundation of a Memphis-style tomato-based sauce with a sweet, tangy heat. I also have a Blueberry-Habanero sauce; when fresh peaches are available, I serve a unique Peach-Bacon sauce. The Baja Bam Sauce accompanies many of our salads and is served with stuffed potatoes! It is a tangy mustard vinaigrette that is extremely unique! Very proud of it,” shared the food aficionado.

“FRESHNESS is my mantra!”

“When I can, I use locally sourced produce and meats. Doing this is healthier, and it simply tastes better! I feed my children and my friends from that food truck, I want it to be the best quality for them and everyone who comes!” 

“Crawl, Walk, Run”

“My business philosophy has always been to exercise deliberate patience. By this, I mean to crawl before I walk, walk to ensure I have developed proper systems, and then run like the wind!” Kimberly shared, “We crawled longer than I anticipated. Many forces and family tragedies needed my focus and prolonged the crawling. We are walking around pretty well currently and looking forward to running!”

While Kimberly says she has not done a lot of catering, she recently hired an employee, and she is “excited about the growth potential with the new spot at the same location. I look forward to building a team and being able to accept more catering opportunities.”

“My life philosophy has been the same for the last 15 years; Be kind, show grace, give freely, and show everyone how much you love them.”

Kimberly said, “There is something so special about my customers – folks who checked on me when I was dealing with my mother’s injuries and my dad’s passing. My customers are truly my extended family, always interested in the adventures of my sons. My customers know us all by name! Some of them expressed they would follow us anywhere. How wonderful is that? “

“My customers come for hugs, kind words of encouragement, and of course, to get the food! The folks in this amazing community make every day on the truck better than the last. Can’t wait to have more folks find us and come see what all the hoopla is about!” expressed the southern chef.”

Where to make a Pitts Stop!

The BBQ PItts Stop is at The Vintage Pearl Market, formerly One of a Kind Antiques Mall. Vintage Pearl can be found at 372 East Glazypeau Road, Hot Springs Village. Glazypeau is the street just beyond Walmart, on the same side, before you get to the Sheds/Mini-houses on Hwy 7.

Typically Kimberly can be found at The Pitts Stop from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 or 3:00 p.m., when she sells out. She is closed on Sunday and Monday.

Contact information for catering or general questions

The best way to reach Kimberly is by voicemail or text message. 901-618-9427. She checks her private messages on Facebook and emails daily. Kimberly can also be reached by email at: Kimberly said she turns her phone off from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm to concentrate on her guests. 

By Cheryl Dowden; Photographs by Kimberly Pitts, Cheryl Dowden

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