Welcome to Partner Provisions, where we introduce you to the incredible people and stories behind the restaurants, food trucks and caterers helping ZeroCater feed the workforce – breakfast, lunch, dinner and every meal in between.
- Name: Che Ruddell-Tabisola
- Restaurant: BBQ Bus Smokehouse
- Cuisine: BBQ Catering
- City: Washington DC
- Website: BBQBusDC.com
- Instagram Handle: @bbqbusdc
- Twitter Handle: @bbqbusdc
In one sentence tell us who BBQ Bus Smokehouse is.
We got into this business because we love feeding people.
Tell us about BBQ Bus Smokehouse!
In 2009 my husband Tadd and I had an idea to leave our 9-5s to open a restaurant that served smoked meats, sandwiches, freshly made sides, sweets, etc. We always loved cooking for friends and family and hosting for holidays and other special occasions. That year was the height of the recession, and making that dream come true at that time was out of reach. So we maxed out our credit cards, cashed in a 401k, borrowed from friends and family, and in 2011 opened our BBQ Bus food truck to chase a life of meaningful work doing something we loved to do.
A few years, and many curbside services, later we’ve added onto our food truck business. First a large catering company, and then in 2017 (finally) we opened our very own small brick and mortar in the Brightwood community of Washington, D.C.
What was the very first menu item?
The first sandwich that came together was about a month before we opened when we threw a party for our friends to eat BBQ while we took pictures for our website. It was our Spicy Jalapeño Chicken Sandwich: Smoked and pulled chicken topped with house pickled jalapeños and our Smoky Sweet BBQ Sauce #5 on a toasted roll.
Tell us about one of your signature dishes!
I think for a lot of BBQ restaurants your pulled pork is the standard bearer of the menu. Ours is smoked between 11 to 14 hours, pulled by hand every morning, and packed with flavor while remaining tender and juicy.
What is one thing not many know about BBQ Bus Smokehouse?
We make all our sauces and pickled vegetables in-house.
What’s your favorite thing about feeding companies?
Delivering the best working lunch ever.
What do you like most about partnering with ZeroCater?
The ZeroCater team of course! They are great partners in our business.
We believe food is an integral part of community building, tell us about a time where BBQ Bus Smokehouse brought people together or helped to foster community.
During the last government shutdown, we offered 25% off for affected federal workers and contractors. Our feeling is that we wouldn’t be around if it wasn’t for their support, so it was only natural to reciprocate it. At the same time, the shutdown delivered a significant hit to our own sales. So the whole month had this “let’s get through this together” vibe.
What is your biggest challenge as a restaurateur or chef?
Time! We could all use another couple hours in the day and an extra day in the week.
What piece of advice would you offer to someone starting out in the food industry?
It all starts with your menu, that’s the heart of you do.
Where do you see BBQ Bus Smokehouse in the future?
Tadd’s grandparents were also restaurateurs, and like them, I hope we happily grow old working together.
Order from BBQ Bus Smokehouse for your office!