Saturday, September 06, 2008

Carlsbad's KOA barbecue keeps drawing diners

CARLSBAD — Scott and Susan Bacher had some pretty big culinary shoes to fill.

The previous hosts of Carlsbad's KOA, Don and Connie Manthei, had set a high standard for barbecue — so high that TV chef Bobby Flay even stopped by to check it out.

Carlsbad's KOA, located at 2 Manthei Road about halfway between Carlsbad and Artesia, has long been a popular destination for RVers headed to visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Local residents, however, might find the 15 minute drive to be a worthwhile dinner trip. The KOA's restaurant is open from 5-7 p.m., seven days a week.

Scott and Susan Bacher come from Rochester, N.Y., where Scott worked as an electrical contractor on projects like jails and schools. After they decided to become campground hosts, they looked at dozens of different locations around the nation. New Mexico was not on their original list.

"The agent called and said there's a great park in Carlsbad," Bacher said. "He said, 'If you don't buy it, I'll pay for half of your airline ticket.'"

The Bachers bought it, and they've been here since.

The Bachers have a bit of an advantage in terms of obtaining reliable employment. Many of their employees are "work campers" — retired people who will spend six months working at one RV Park before moving to other destinations. They are usually extremely reliable and competent employees, Bacher noted.
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