Today we’d like to introduce you to Marc Smith.
Marc, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Back in the day, I went to Lowes, bought a smoker and thought I’d take my shot at the whole brisket smoking phenomenon. My first brisket tasted like A$%. I took this beef jerky over to my dad’s house and he did what a good dad does and said it great. I decided that I wasn’t going to give up that easily so I went down to Houston one weekend and paid $500 for an all-weekend BBQ 101 class. The class was great and I learned a ton. A pitmaster taught the class and one thing he recommended was to build an Ugly Drum Smoker. I Googled plans for these suckers and watched YouTube videos on how to make them. Looked easy enough so I made one. I was a Senior Systems Engineer at the time so I also had to tech the thing out too. I bought a device called the BBQ Guru which is a WIFI-enabled thermometer with a fan that controls the temp.
Needless to say, my next brisket was way better. All of my neighbors started to know me as the neighborhood BBQ guy. I always brought some damn-good BBQ to our neighborhood shindigs. This eventually led to my neighbor texting me in the summer of 2016 to see if I could cater a grand opening for her company’s new Kraus Orthodontist office in Frisco. She said there would be around 100 people coming and she pictured me cooking for the event outside with a big smoker. I told her that I didn’t think my Ugly Drum Smoker could feed that many people so I told her to give me a couple days and let me see what I could do.
BINGO! I found a used 250-gallon trailer smoker on Facebook in Lubbock that has just been rebuilt and painted. They were asking $3,000 for it. I ended up taking a cash advance from a credit card and texted my neighbor back to tell her that I’ll be catering her grand opening. She was very excited. I had no idea how much I was going to charge her but I told her I’d put together a menu and figure out my food cost ASAP.
We just needed to figure out what to call our new, random BBQ catering biz. I’m an Army veteran and had dreams of feeding veterans at the Dallas VA hospital one day. I didn’t want to use my last name like a lot of BBQ joints do. I wanted it to be bigger than just me. We first came up with Patriot BBQ and then as I was driving home from my IT job, I thought of Patriotic Pig. My wife and daughter loved that name. DONE! We registered the name, had a logo made and created a website.
The grand opening was a HUGE success. Everyone loved the BBQ and several people said it was the best they’d ever had. We now cater an Annual Roundup BBQ every year for them and they’ve even referred us to other offices. Someone then asked us to cater a wedding. That’s where things really blew up. We now cater over 200 weddings per year with the capacity to cater up to 5 weddings per day. We regularly feed over 1,000 people every weekend. This leads to more weddings, parties, corporate events and people asking if we have a restaurant.
In May of 2018, we decided to grant the demand for a restaurant. We just signed a 2-year lease on a building in North Richland Hills that used to be a BBQ joint. We’re hoping to be open in a couple months. We just had two massive smokers built and we’re in the process of making it look all purdy. We’ve also attracted a couple of investors and we have plans to build a brand-new restaurant right off the new Smithfield Station that’s being built in North Richland Hills. This new commuter rail station will be surrounded by new shops, dining, and housing and we’ll be smack dab in the middle of it. Our new restaurant will have outdoor dining, live music and will allow us to give back even more to the veteran community. Life is good when you get to do what you love and help others at the same time. We’re blessed.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Finding a building that already has a grease trap and a kitchen was one of our biggest challenges. Luckily, one of the health inspectors for North Richland Hills told us about the abandoned BBQ joint that we’re now leasing. It was not on the market and I had been searching all over for an affordable spot that was ready to go. Those apparently go very quick so if you find one, you have to jump on it fast.
Getting additional capital for equipment and to help with the construction has been another challenge. We haven’t been in business for two years yet and most regular banks have strict lending requirements. They want to see two years worth of tax returns and we didn’t have that yet.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about The Patriotic Pig – what should we know?
From our Storefront on The Knot…..
Where Rustic meets Elegance. Farmhouse meets Romantic. Patriotic Pig provides a timeless and classic backdrop for every element of the dining experience. From the reclaimed barn wood chafers all the way down to the mason-jar salt-n-pepper shakers. We know the importance of the presentation is just as beautiful as the rest of your big day. As a preferred vendor for several DFW wedding venues, we strive to bring you not only the best cuisine but also a stunning display that’s rooted in unmistakable Lonestar Pride.
We’re the only BBQ caterer that offers a one-of-a-kind rustic buffet display for weddings. Some BBQ caterers just drop off foil pans of food and it’s up to you to make it look good. We’re well-known in the wedding industry for offering amazing food and an exceptional overall experience.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I do all the cooking but she makes it look purdy. She also works with the brides, coordinators and handles all of the staffing. We have 26 part-time employees on our payroll and we sometimes use event staffing companies when our employees are not available. She handles the fine details for every event that we cater.
Those part-time employees that I just spoke of.
Most of these are friends and family who work full-time jobs and just want to make a little extra money to make ends meet. They enjoy working together as a family and they’re more reliable than someone you hire off Craigslist. We even hired one of our brides. She’s a rockstar and we may have to hire her full-time one day.
- Address: 3900 Rufe Snow, Suite A
North Richland Hills, TX 76180
- Website: www.patrioticpig.com
- Phone: 817-601-5256
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/patrioticpigbbq/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PatrioticPig
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/PatrioticPigBBQ
- Other: https://www.theknot.com/marketplace/patriotic-pig-bbq-grapevine-tx-998063