Vince Staten

Prospect’s Staten made name
with barbecue, turned to writing

The Courier-Journal columnist
has many books to his credit

By Ruth Wright
Contributing Writer

(July 2002) PROSPECT, Ky. – Staten’s Old Time Barbecue is situated on the corner of a small shopping center off Hwy. 42 in downtown Prospect, Ky. Popular for its tender meats and tangy sauces, the restaurant has been serving up some of the best barbecue in the Louisville area for a decade.
Vince Staten, the mastermind behind it all, decided that what the world needed was a “McDonald’s of barbecue,” or in other words, a barbecue restaurant that was reliable and clean.
So after some prodding from enthusiastic friends, Staten ventured into the restaurant business and the rest, as they say, is history.
The menu at Staten’s includes a variety of sauces to tempt the palate, such as the mouth-watering mild Jack Sauce, with a hint of Jack Daniels whiskey, and the tongue-inflaming Legal Limit Hot Sauce, which “may or may not be legal in all states.”

Vince Staten

Vince Staten

But although some Staten Barbecue enthusiasts may beg to differ, the tempting barbecue on the menu is not Staten’s primary claim to fame.
Staten, who has appeared on “Late Night with David Letterman,” “Dateline NBC,” the “Today” show and many other television and radio shows, is more often recognized as a popular non-fiction author and newspaper columnist.
His books, including such captivating titles, as “Do Pharmacists Sell Farms?” “Inside the Corner Drugstore,” “Did Monkeys Invent the Monkey Wrench?” “Hardware Stores and Hardware Stories,” and “Unauthorized America: A Guide to the Places the Chamber of Commerce Won’t Tell You About,” showcase a talent for melding story telling with interesting, and sometimes unusual, information.
And as the titles demonstrate, Staten’s knowledge extends well beyond the food genre.
A Tennessee native, Staten received a graduate degree in communications from the University of Tennessee. He has worked as an editor, reporter, announcer, entertainment columnist and television critic for various publications and has been a syndicated columnist for the New York Daily News and the Louisville Courier-Journal. After achieving success in his career, Staten decided to try free-lance writing. Ten books and many articles later, he is still going strong.
Staten’s latest book, “Do Bald Men Get Half-Price Haircuts,” takes readers on a trip down Main Street to the old time barbershop. Unlike the style salons sprinkled along suburban boulevards and strip malls across the country, the barbershop community has remained a relatively unchanged classic of American culture.
According to Staten, the barbershop is still the “community center,” where folks gather to discuss everything from politics to stock car racing, or just to catch up on local gossip.
While researching his book, Staten visited barbershops across the country. One of the favorites he describes in the book is that of his personal barber, Wib Scarboro. Wib’s Barbershop is located on Fifth Street in downtown Louisville. Wib has been cutting hair and spinning yarns for the past 46 years.
According to Wib, his customers tend to stick around for the company long after their hair has been swept from the floor. “It’s just an old time barbershop,” explains Wib, who says that Staten was inspired by the friendly community atmosphere he found there.
Staten admits that Wib’s is just what he was looking for in a barbershop when he wandered through the door several years ago, and in his book he gives plenty of credit to Wib, whom he says “taught me how a barbershop works.”
Staten lives in Oldham County with his wife, Judy. He teaches a writing class at the University of Louisville and is currently working on his next book, due out in April 2003. This time, Staten plans to probe the wonders of America’s favorite pastime, baseball, and in his unique and witty manner explain a few of the less-known facts and interesting stories behind the sport.
In the meantime, his weekly video news column, “On the Tube,” can be found in the Saturday issue of the Courier-Journal. And if you happen to wander into Wib’s Barbershop, you might see him occupying a chair, if not for a cut, at least for the company.

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