As readers may know, we’ve been on a quest to find the best barbeque in DC throughout this year. We were so excited to learn that a new contender is coming to the area. Read on to learn the story of the BBQ Bus.
Brightwood and its surrounding neighborhoods are in for a treat as we are only a few days away from the Grand Opening of the BBQ Bus Smokehouse, the brick-and-mortar offshoot of the beloved BBQ Bus food truck. Shepherd Park and Takoma residents may remember the BBQ Bus from its partnership with Denizens of Silver Spring. Now, owners Che Ruddell-Tabisola and his partner Tadd are preparing to bring their tender morsels of spicy sweet goodness to our little corner of the city on a permanent basis.
The history of the BBQ Bus food truck is a quintessential mobile vending success story, but the journey did not come without a few bumps along the way. Tadd and Che’s culinary dream was born during the tail end of the Great Recession, which made obtaining financing difficult. While working corporate jobs, they built a catering side hustle on nights and weekends. Their delicious food was so popular that they built a loyal following of customers and a series of business partnerships that allowed them to purchase the food truck and jump into the business full-time.
The BBQ Bus Smokehouse held a Special Neighborhood Preview on Saturday, June 24th, which drew a huge crowd of fans. When I asked Che why they chose to set up shop in Brightwood, he said that it was a no-brainer. “We love our neighbors. Just look around. Their enthusiasm and support have been terrific. We’ve been serving some of our neighbors repeatedly since we started our catering business five years ago.”
During the preview, they served what they call BBQ Bus Sundaes: BBQ beans, bacon mashed potatoes, fire-roasted corn, slaw and smoky pulled pork or chicken, with a red onion “cherry” on top. I didn’t know what to expect, but the combination was absolutely AMAZING. To me, the sauce makes or breaks a barbeque meal, and this sauce is outstanding.
The intersection of Georgia and Missouri Avenues offers tons of vehicle traffic, but not much in the way of foot traffic or parking. Several other food establishments on this block offered good food, but were not able to survive this traffic/parking dynamic. I asked Che how they planned to overcome this challenge and write a different story for BBQ Bus Smokehouse. He said that diversification will be the key. Unlike the previous businesses which relied almost completely on walk-in traffic, BBQ Bus Smokehouse will have many sources of income, including large deliveries, catering, and online delivery services such as UberEats. The food truck will continue operating and use the restaurant’s kitchen for its prep work.
Georgia Avenue Rising
As Georgia Avenue begins its retail ascension, the BBQ Bus Smokehouse has the potential to be a real neighborhood jewel. Tadd and Che’s journey from idea to success is another reminder of the value of hard work, persistence and innovation. From being “laughed out of the bank” to being on the verge of the most anticipated neighborhood restaurant opening in years, their story can inspire and motivate us all. Best of luck to the BBQ Bus Smokehouse team!
Opening Day: July 7th, 2017
Business Name: BBQ Bus Smokehouse
Type: Carry-out restaurant with delivery and limited seating.
Address: 5830 Georgia Ave. NW Washington, D. C. 20011