Fifth Avenue Wiggins


Wiggins Bar-B-Q, located just across 5th Avenue from the former Huntington East High School,
 was a popular restaurant for more than 30 years.


HUNTINGTON — When Ralph Wiggins opened his Wiggins Bar-B-Q at 2877 5th Ave.,
 sometime around 1950, it became the third restaurant to occupy that structure.

Around 1946, a restaurant called Karl Kitley’s Merry-Go-Round was the first to use
the location. The second, called Knight’s, was operated by Jack Knight, who
owned the Huntington Tobacco Market. It was open only a short time.

In 1956, a group of local businessmen purchased the 5th Avenue
Wiggins, which continued operating until the mid-1980s.

As its name suggested, barbecue was a popular item on the Wiggins
 menu, as was the eatery’s chili-flavored spaghetti. The restaurant
also quickly became known for its tasty strawberry pie.

Located directly across the avenue from the former Huntington East High School,
Wiggins was always crowded with students at lunch time and after school.

In 1957, veteran restaurateur Dave Freeman obtained permission to open a
second Wiggins on the 4th Avenue corner across from Marshall’s Old
Main. In 1995, the restaurant was sold. The next year, it
 burned and was not rebuilt. Today, the once-busy
 corner where it stood is a parking lot.

In 1999, Dave Freeman’s son, Rob, and local businessman Edsel Rollyson
 teamed up to serve traditional Wiggins barbecue and spaghetti at a new
 restaurant, Wiggins Central City, which they opened at Madison
 Avenue and West 14th Street. For a number of years
Tascali’s restaurant on U.S. 60 East also served
 the well-remembered Wiggins fare.

Both Wiggins Central City and Tascali’s are now closed.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Oct. 19, 2021


[ Back ]