The tattered building with beige paint chipping and flaking at the corner of Long Cove Road and Route 12 is an eyesore people probably ignore during their daily commute but they may soon find themselves thinking about that spot, and what it has to offer, quite frequently and especially around lunch time.
Kelly Walker, of Big Belly Kelly's BBQ, will park his catering truck, with smoker in tow, in the parking lot to offer homestyle-cooked BBQ sandwiches and sides at the roadside stop.
"I will be the first one there," said Johnny Burns, Sr., a pastor at New Life Church, which Walker attends. "He caters all my events. He should be international."
Burns said Walker's BBQ is like no other and that there are no other restaurants in the area on par with Walker's food.
"Kelly's good," he said. "His food is excellent."
Walker moved to Ledyard in 1999; back then, he owned Brittany's Southern Cuisine in New London. For the past five years he and his wife Sandra have been cooking out of the food truck at festivals and events like the Essex Hot Steamed Jazz Festival, British by the Sea at Harkness and the Ledyard Fair.
The idea to have a mobie restaurant was inspired the growing trend of gourmet food trucks, which can be seen in "The Great Food Truck Race," a show on the Food Network. But Walker said he's ready to park and stay still for a bit.
"We're going to set up and be here," he said of the move. "We're excited about being in Ledyard."
He plans to set up an "outdoor food court" with tents, tables and chairs for people to sit but he's also ready for take-out orders.
"It's finger-lickin' good," said Michelle Hinton, who remembers Kelly's BBQ at the Ledyard fair this sumer. "You'll need a lot of napkins."
But customers will have to wait because Walker plans to clean up the spot a bit before parking his truck there.
"We have a lot of work to do," he said of cleaning up the former gas station lot. Walker said he'll be painting the building, sweeping and clearing the corner lot for customers and hopes to be serving meals by the end of the month.
People may be ignoring the building now but the smokey aroma wafting from the food truck soon to be parked there will lure people in by their noses.
Walker said he learned to cook from his mother and from lots of trial and error but, he said, cooking BBQ is a labor of love.
Walker said he smokes beef in the BBQ pit for 12 hourse at least.
"BBQ is fond to my heart," he said. "It's not a task, it's a love."