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BBQ Bus, the popular eatery that helped pioneer the food truck scene in D.C., has opened its first brick-and-mortar store in Brightwood.
Six years after leaving their day jobs, BBQ Bus food truck owners Che and Tadd Ruddell-Tabisola held their grand opening Friday, July 7, with notable District food service personnel, Ward 4 Council member Brandon Todd and D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton.
“First let me say, if anybody wonders why I am here, they don’t understand how much I love BBQ,” Norton said. “I’m excited that Che and Tad decided to do a brick-and-mortar and voluntarily pay even more taxes to the District of Columbia.”
BBQ Bus, located at 5830 Georgia Avenue in Northwest, serves up the classics of brisket, pulled pork, smoked chicken, baby back ribs, spicy chorizo, house-made pickles and house-made vinaigrette slaw.
The side dishes include chorizo mac and cheese, bacon mashed potatoes and barbecue bus beans.
“We are here because we’ve been able to stand on the shoulders of giants,” said Che Tabisola, co-owner of BBQ Bus with his husband Tadd. “Throughout our history street vending has always provided a means for small business ownership and independence.”
In 2009, Tadd and Che had an idea to leave their jobs to open a business serving smoked meats, sandwiches in a neighborhood store complete with a stocked deli case, just like the butcher shops they knew growing up.
They birthed that idea at the height of the recession, which at the time felt out of reach, they said.
After maxing out credit cards, cashing in a 401k and borrowing from friends, in 2011 they opened the BBQ Bus food truck and recently graduated to a storefront location.
“BBQ Bus Smokehouse is the latest of more than two dozen food truck businesses that have gone on to open brick and mortars since the modern food truck industry entered the DMV area in 2009,” Che said.
Todd commended the duo for contributing to the District’s bustling restaurant economy.
“I’m so happy to welcome Che and Tad to Ward 4,” he said. “Maybe six or seven years ago when I worked for then-Councilwoman Muriel Bowser, I worked on our legislative board of regulations for food trucks. It was a new thing and people were worried that they would put brick-and-mortar businesses out of business, so I’m even more delighted to see that a number of food trucks are opening brick-and-mortar stores in our great city.”