Two men are on a mission to bring the best barbecue to more people and to do so quickly.
Bill Kraus and Steve Newton want to have a restaurant chain with more than 40 outlets and $100 million in annual revenue by 2018. Right now, they have two locations, in Glen Burnie and Perry Hall in Maryland.
A big reason they think they'll be successful: The ubiquity of military service members, police officers, firefighters, their families and friends.
In addition to smoking meat, Mission BBQ is focused on honoring public servants.
And Get This:
The national anthem is played in each eatery at noon and diners stand and pay their respects.
On a recent weekday, customers packed the Glen Burnie restaurant just before the noon singing of the "Star-Spangled Banner." Two men in Coast Guard uniforms sat at a corner table, and Anne Arundel County Police Department employees filled a picnic table at the center of the dining room.
"We're going to be opportunistic," Kraus said when asked whether the new locations, like the current ones, would be military installations. "At the same time, too, who doesn't love barbecue? And whether or not there's a large veteran population, hopefully patriotism is alive and well everywhere."
The next two restaurants Kraus and Newton plan to open will test their hypothesis: that good barbecue with a side of patriotism can succeed nearly anywhere.
This week, they're launching one of their "fast casual" restaurants, with ordering at the counter and self-seating, in California, Md., a small community just outside Naval Air Station Patuxent River and the largest employer in St. Mary's County. In October, their fourth location will open in Baltimore's Canton neighborhood, an eclectic but far from military-dominated locale.
Their final new restaurant this year will open in York, Pa. They said they've identified locations for about half of the remaining stores they want to build, focusing at first on the mid-Atlantic region.
I like the whole idea of this place and hope they are a great success. Seeing an entire restaurant full of people stop eating, stand, salute or place their hands over their hearts, and sing The Star Spangled Banner –well it warms my heart, puts a tear in my eye, and sends goosebumps all over...
Is it my imagination or do Buffalo Wings taste like Chicken?
Live Long and Prosper...