As some of you may or may not know, we are opening a restaurant at The Medallion later this year. Since taking on this venture, we have gotten a lot of advice from a lot of people. While I appreciate each precious nugget, one of the things I can’t get with is trying to be everything to everyone. What is first and foremost in our minds is staying true to the art of low and slow cooking. We’re not trying to fill our menu with foods we’re not passionate about. Let me give you a couple of personal moments from my life that feed into the mindset of staying true.
I have a lead foot (it’s gotten lighter as I’ve gotten older) and I was one of those drivers that always tried to pass slow folks on the road. One-day years ago my sister told me “You can’t be in front all the time.” Although I still sometimes try, I have held on to that bit of chastisement all these years. I think that maybe God wanted me to relate that to our barbecue business. In the early days of starting this business, I used to get angry with Neil for buying other folks barbecue. He had the nerve to tell me “Baby, we can’t make all the money.” My smart retort that I kept to myself was “Humph, says you. I’m building a barbecue empire.” I still have grand plans but I’ve embraced that little tidbit as well.
With those two delightful insights engrained in my psyche, I’ve come to realize we can’t please everyone, even folks who want barbecue. We’ve gotten our fair share of bad reviews and whatnot. I used to get angry, use cursory 4-letter words, and tell them what to kiss and so forth. My thinking was that we always produce a good tasting product and they wouldn’t know good barbecue if they channeled a smoked pig. What I had to accept was that we have our good days and bad, but good or bad, it’s all about the barbecue for us.
Our tag line is REAL. GOOD. MEAT. We sell barbecue. So why would you come to use for say burgers and fries or vegetarian cuisine? Like Prissy said in Gone With the Wind “Lawzy, we got to have a doctor. I don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ babies.” well the same applies for our food and us. We know barbecue, we live barbecue, we SELL barbecue. We do offer vegetarian options on our catering menu but I seriously doubt it would make it on to our restaurant menu. Hamburger stands in L.A. are like liquor stores in the hood. (Yes, I said it and mad about it, but that’s a whole nother post). How many burger stands would you pass before coming through our doors? I’m not just picking on these food groups but do you see my point?
Add to that my pet peeve of food establishments that aren’t known for their supposed specialty. When I look at reviews for barbecue restaurants in Los Angeles, most get kudos for beer selections or some other food option, seldom the barbecue. Neil has dragged me into more than one of these places and I’m not gonna name names. What I will say is I usually end up ordering something that is not barbecue related because their extensive menu include fried chicken, fish, tacos, burgers and fries. Of all those options, how much of it was cooked in a smoker or even on a grill for that matter? Now tell me again why I should order your barbecue? What that menu says to me is that barbecue wasn’t making any money so add other food options. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the food isn’t good but maybe barbecue shouldn’t be in the title of some establishments.
I said all that to say barbecue is what we do and barbecue is what we sell. It’s really not just a money thing. It’s a love thing. So don’t get mad if we don’t have cheese pizza or nuggets for the little babies. I don’t cater to my picky kid and I don’t plan to cater to anyone else’s, not matter the age.