Barbecue business trucking along
By RANDY GONZALES
Business has been so good, a part-time venture decided to go full-time -- starting today.
Smokin Co. BBQ, which started with competition barbecue three years ago, branched into a food service company. Owners Ryan and Brianne Sultzer upgraded as a result and bought an air-conditioned trailer in spring of 2012, and also added a Traeger grill.
They have parked their food truck at the county fair and special events in the area as well as catering, all while holding down two full-time jobs.
On Wednesday evenings, they are at the farmers' market in downtown Hays.
"We try to do a competition once a month, and the other times selling, until this week, we'll be selling full-time," Brianne Sultzer said.
The Sultzers plan to notify customers on their Facebook page of where they will park their food truck the next day. Late Sunday night, their page, Smokin Co. BBQ, posted the food truck would be at Centennial Plaza in Hays until 7 p.m. today.
The food truck won't just be in Hays.
"We're going to be traveling to surrounding areas," Brianne Sultzer said.
"We're going to schedule to where different days we're going to be in different towns."
While Ryan planned to quit his job at Midwest Energy, Brianne still will work at Mam' Zelles Ladies Apparel, the store her mother owns.
"It's a dream come true," Ryan Sultzer said of staking out on his own. "The American dream in a lot of people's eyes, to be able to do this on your own."
The menu is streamlined, but there will be additions to it.
"We have about 10 to 12 menu items right now; we're adding six new ones," Brianne Sultzer said.
A few customer favorites are the ribs and pork nachos. The ribs were sold out before the end of the farmers' market last week. The pork nachos is comprised of a base of kettle chips, pulled pork, a light queso, barbecue sauce and green onions.
And now, the customers won't come to them; the Sultzers will go to the customers.
"We love the whole big city food truck atmosphere," Brianne Sultzer said.
They also appreciate their customers, who gave them the confidence to take the leap to a full-time business.
"We've thankfully had huge success with the business, so our fans and followers have amped up the business to where we can't do it part-time anymore," Brianne Sultzer said.