If the recipe for happiness is good barbecue and lots of it, then the Moonlite Bar—B—Q Inn in Owensboro is one of the happiest places in all the world.
Sound like an exaggeration? Fans of Moonlite and its famous buffet probably don’t think so. And neither does CNN.
Last week, CNN anointed the iconic Owensboro restaurant one of the world’s 15 happiest places.
Moonlite is the only restaurant on the list, which appeared on what is known as “Blue Monday,” when winter weather, debts coming due and going back to work after the holidays are said to get people down.
Moonlite is joined on the list by such places as Kyoto, Japan, during cherry blossom season; Mary, a chocolate shop in Brussels, Belgium; Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, home to the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden; Chicago’s Wrigley Field; Iquazu Falls on the Argentine— Brazilian border and Ayers Rock in central Australia.
In an article, CNN reporter Griffin Shea wrote of Moonlite, “What started as a small roadside restaurant has grown into a landmark, famed for its hickory—smoked mutton.” The article, which appears on the website cnn.com, praised the restaurant for being a family business that cooks meat that tastes like home.
Patrick Bosley, one of the four family co-owners of Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn, said on he knew CNN was working on something, but he didn’t know exactly what.
“I got a fact check call, so I know there was going to be a story,” Bosley said. “I really thought it would be a “Barbecue in the South” or “Barbecue in the U.S.A.,” kind of a review. We’re very humbled to be on this list. We’re proud to represent Owensboro. When we get this kind of exposure, it’s good for the community.”
Bosley said he did not know what kind of criteria CNN used when it selected the world’s happiest places, or why Moonlite was selected. But he offered an opinion: “How can you not be happy eating banana pudding and mac—and— cheese?” he asked, referring to two of the restaurant’s most popular items.
Moonlite, in its 54th year, has been honored many times, and visited by many famous people. President Bill Clinton visited the restaurant in May 2000. Moonlite has been voted Kentucky’s best Barbecue by Kentucky Monthly and Kentucky Living Magazines.