“Something I’ll never forget”

Biden visits WHHS family-owned restaurant


Used with permission from @faithlovebbq/Instagram

Just Q’in’s slogan reads “Faith. Love. BBQ.” By keeping it simple, Matthew Cuff, founder and owner of Just Q’in BBQ, fosters a welcoming environment in his restaurant. “I love what I do,” Matthew said. “I love the opportunity to be able to impact people’s lives on a regular basis.”

Fourteen years ago, barbeque was only a hobby for Matthew Cuff. What started as attending weekend barbeque competitions evolved into owning a successful restaurant located in East Walnut Hills, Just Q’in BBQ.

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden visited Just Q’in for lunch along with Sen. Sherrod Brown and Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval. 

“My dad told me after school… ‘You’re never gonna believe what happened today,’ I thought he was gonna say something that happened to a family member or something, but he said ‘President Biden came into the restaurant today,’” SENIOR Azariah Cuff said. “I was totally shocked.”

Biden visited Cincinnati in recognition of the Brent Spence Bridge Project, a $1.6 billion investment in the city’s infrastructure. During his surprise visit to Just Q’in, the president enjoyed brisket, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, jalapeno cornbread and peach cobbler.

“We didn’t have a lot of notice, so it was kind of a whirlwind when it actually happened,” Matthew said. 

Matthew and Biden discussed their upbringings, the impact of the Brent Spence Bridge Project and their views on leadership. Matthew shared his philosophy that it’s a leader’s role to elevate the people around them.

“In running a restaurant, having a mindset of pouring into the people that you lead… lends itself really well to having an excellent product or service and having a team that’s really loyal to what it is that you’re trying to do as a business,” Matthew said.

Just Q’in values providing opportunities and a second chance to applicants whose work histories have been disrupted by incarceration or other barriers to employment.

We just try to make sure that we love on everyone, love on our team members that come in, the guests… that come in, just to make sure that they receive the best possible serviceand that reflects our love of God

— SENIOR Azariah Cuff

“[The restaurant] is mostly in a neighborhood that doesn’t really have a lot of advantages when it comes to employment… so we try our best to employ people who may be struggling with those disadvantages,” Azariah said.

Just Q’in is a Christian organization that honors God by striving to serve authentic, high-quality food in a “warm and loving environment for all guests,” regardless of their faith.

“We just try to make sure that we love on everyone, love on our team members that come in, the guests… that come in, just to make sure that they receive the best possible service—and that reflects our love of God,” Azariah said. 

Since Biden’s visit, Just Q’in continues to experience increased traffic. Because all the food is cooked from scratch daily, Matthew worked to modify the backend processes to handle the increase in demand. 

“We still have many people asking us about [Biden’s visit] today… I don’t know that I realized how much [of an] effect it would have at the time, but it has had a pretty big impact on sales,” Matthew said. “I think we did a pretty good job of setting ourselves up to be able to handle a large amount of people in a short amount of time.”

Along with unpredictable sales in the restaurant industry, owning and operating a restaurant that is also a small business comes with a unique set of challenges. 

“It’s leading people the right way, it’s understanding your numbers and your profit margins, and overhead and keeping a watch on whenever supply chain issues pop up [that] you have to deal with,” Matthew said. 

Matthew wants students interested in starting a business to know and understand their “why” for doing it.

“[With] anything in life, whether it’s tests, whether it’s classes, whether it’s college applications, anything will get tough at some point,” Matthew said, “If you don’t understand and know what your ‘why’ is for doing it, it makes it that much harder to have something to lean on and keep going.”