Dudley’s Done Right BBQ will celebrate its second anniversary Wednesday. Then, on Oct. 1, owners Marshall and Jacie Barnhart will move the trailer-mounted grill to 315 N. State St.
They intend to have the former Smoke City building remodeled into a carry-out restaurant.
“That’s been our goal, to have a full-time barbecue business at a permanent location,” said Marshall Barnhart.
“Once the building is ready, customers will be able to drive up or come inside” to pick up fare from a menu expanded from what has been offered the past two years on Wednesdays and Saturdays on the parking lot of the old IGA building at the corner of Garfield and State streets.
Sale of the IGA property to Iola Industries prompted another of what Barnhart calls baby steps in evolution of the business.
“After that happened, we arranged a lease for the Smoke City property (with John and Mitch Sigg) and now we’ll be open Wednesday through Saturday,” Barnhart said.
Breakfast of biscuits and gravy, burritos and egg and potato scramblers will be new menu additions.
“We’ll serve breakfast from 6 to 10 a.m. and then start the barbecue and be open each day until we’re sold out,” Barnhart said. “Everything will be cooked fresh every day. We never reheat anything.”
The barbecue menu will be expanded from brisket, pulled pork, ribs and chicken to include turkey, salami, bologna and smoked cheese. A special on Thursdays will be seafood, such as shrimp, halibut and king crab. Sides of potato salad and baked beans will be available.
Eventually the Barnharts will add in-house seating and a challenge of a three-pound baked potato “loaded with all the fixings,” he said. “Those who are able to eat it will have their names put on a challenge board on the wall.
“We won’t change our prices with (the move) to the permanent location,” Barnhart said. “We want to stay competitive. Our goal is just to make a living.”
MARSHALL BARNHART started smoking and grilling meat more than occasionally about 10 years ago.
A welder by trade, Barnhart built his first barbecue grill in 1998 and quickly sold it. A second sold just as quickly. After completing the third, a neighbor asked whether he would smoke a turkey for him.
“Then it was a few more, then 40, then 100 turkeys,” he said.
He also competed in barbecue contests, such as the one at the Allen County Fair, which gave public recognition and piqued the Barnharts’ interest in making the barbecue venture more a business and less a hobby.
“One day the state knocked on my door and told me I needed to be licensed if I was going to sell what I cooked and do catering. That’s when I decided to go fulltime,” Barnhart said.
The Barnharts are confident being open four days a week from a permanent location will add to an already faithful clientele.
It also will be a step forward for Iola’s business community, filling a vacancy along State Street and giving area diners another option.
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