Ex-cops open restaurant in Charles Town

July 16, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Herby Creel and Aubrey Lillard are retired "pigs," and proud of it, as they cook their barbecue pork sandwiches.

The two retired police officers have traded in their badges for spatulas and now own a new restaurant in Charles Town.

They opened the Charles Town Bar-B-Que earlier this month on West Washington Street, serving barbecue ribs, chicken and pork sandwiches.

Creel, 55, spent 28 years with the Prince William County (Va.) Sheriff's Department and retired in 1996 as a captain. Lillard, 54, was a senior patrolman with the Fairfax Police Department when he retired the same year after 20 years of service.


After the two long-time friends retired, they moved to Lakeland, Fla., and opened a barbecue restaurant there.

Creel joked that police officers can always be found at two places, doughnut shops and barbecue restaurants.

But after a year there, they decided the weather was too hot.

There also was too much crime. The restaurant was broken into twice.

Creel had always liked visiting Charles Town. When he lived in Virginia, he occasionally played the horses at the Charles Town Race Track.

"I just enjoyed this part of the country," Creel said.

They moved the business here and opened quietly.

The restaurant's front window has the restaurant's name and a pink pig painted on it.

Inside is a sign, "Owned and Operated by Two Retired Pigs."

Creel said people always shout the word "Pig" at police officers as they drive by in patrol cars.

Long ago, Creel learned the best response was to just laugh about, so they turned the pig sign into a joke.

Creel said he always enjoyed police work, especially being on the fugitive squad.

Armed with an arrest warrant, the officers would gather and discuss how they would arrest the suspect.

"You get to pop the doors and go get him," Creel said.

He grew up around barbecue cooking, so opening a barbecue restaurant came naturally. His girlfriend also cooks.

"I don't cook," Lillard said.

The two men don't remember when they first met or became friends. Their friendship goes back more than 30 years, they said.

"The only thing separating us was a county line," Creel said.

They also don't remember who got the idea to open the restaurant.

It was just something they talked about over the years.

Other people dream of moving to Florida when they retire and then do it. They dreamed of owning a restaurant, Lillard said.

"All cops like to eat. Anywhere you go across the country, if you see a bunch of cops at a particular restaurant, you know they got good food," Lillard said.

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